Monday, 25 March 2019

#Mayflower400 Plymouth

Following a full afternoon in Dartmouth, I was off to Plymouth where I checked in to Rooms by Bistrot Pierre at Royal William Yard. Royal William Yard is the former victualling yard for the Royal Navy and is enormous. It is 16 acres in total and now houses boutique restaurants and pubs, a bakery, upscale flats and Rooms. The hotel has character, charm and the rooms are big, bright and airy. 

On Wednesday I met with Jo, Marketing and Communications Officer, for a look at The Box. The Box is under construction but promises to be a destination point for Plymouth. The building is being purpose built to house the city's archives, the Southwest Film and TV archives, and local studies library collection. In addition, The Box will be a museum where there will be rotating exhibits, including an exhibit to the Mayflower, coming in time for next year's #Mayflower400 celebrations. The Box will also house a gallery. 

After leaving Jo, I met up with Jane, a Blue Badge guide who took me on an extensive walking tour of Plymouth, sharing its rich history and maritime heritage. 

Plymouth was decimated during WWII and this shows particularly in the churches that were destroyed. The shell of St Charles' stands as a testament to the blitz

 St Andrew's, by the Guildhall was rebuilt and has been graced with six John Piper windows

At the gates to the entry is St Andrew casting his net

As with any port city, Plymouth has a history of merchants and trade, much of that with Europe and Africa. 

The harbour was boasted a busy market area

Victorian era cooperage

Horses were led through this tunnel to be washed and
cooled  before their return journey home from market

remnants of the old market buildings and warehouses
only broad gauge railway system still in evidence anywhere in the world

the old engine shed

From the harbour, we walked up to the Hoe

Sir Francis Drake remains Plymouth's most famous son
Drake's coat of arms

view from the Hoe

Drake's island as seen from the Hoe

Building on Drake's island

Smeaton Tower a memorial to Eddystone Lighthouse engineer John Smeaton

Then it was over to the Citadel

And on down to the Barbican

The Emigration House where a quarter of a million emigrants were
 processed for health checks prior to leaving Plymouth

Stone masons hard at work to refurbish the Mayflower Steps ahead of next year's #Mayflower400 celebration

I met up with Abigail from Mayflower400 for a lovely lunch at the Boathouse Cafe where I heard about the wonderful things planned for 2020. There will be a full week of celebrations from September 14th to 20th as the lead up to the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. 

We were shortly joined by Ben, owner of the Boathouse Cafe. Ben showed us his new Scallop Shack where customers will be able to buy fresh scallops, either live or shucked. There will be five new scallop based items added to the menu. Ben will have some special Mayflower themed dishes as well for 2020. 

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