[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)]
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003
"STOKE DAMEREL, a parish in Devonport borough, county Devon, including Devonport town and dockyard, Morice Town, New Passage, Keyham Docks, Ford, Swilly, and the north-western suburbs of Plymouth. See Devonport."
"DEVONPORT, a municipal and parliamentary borough, garrison, seaport, and market town, in the parish of Stoke Damerel, hundred of Roborough, in the county of Devon, 2 miles W.N.W. of Plymouth. It stands between Stonehouse and the Hamoaze, at the mouth of the Tamar. Till 1824 the town was called Plymouth Dock, or more usually "Dock, and the inhabitants "Dockers." The dockyard was founded by William III., soon after his accession to the throne of England. The town was incorporated as a municipal and parliamentary borough in 1836.
It stands on an elevation, looking over the bay of Hamoaze, and is encircled with fortifications, which were commenced in 1758. They consist of batteries on Mount Wise, a redoubt and blockhouse on Mount Pleasant, and walls, or" lines," as they are locally called. These, however, were not completed as at first intended, as they were pronounced by the Duke of Wellington to be useless. The streets are very regularly built, mostly at right angles to each other, are paved with limestone marble, and are, well lighted with gas. The water supplied to the town is brought from Dartmoor, a distance of about 40 miles. The townhall is a handsome building, and near it is a column of 125 feet,-built from a design by Foulston, to commemorate the change of name.
There are in the town, the Artillery, Raglan, and Mount Wise barracks. Reviews and inspections are held in front of the governor' house on Mount Wise, and the port-admiral's house is all in the same quarter, between which and the Admiralty in London, direct telegraphic communication has been laid down. A semaphore stands near the house to convey orders to ships in the harbour; or passing within sight. The admiral has the chief naval command of the port, and all admirals touching at the port are under his control. The prison is at Pennycomequick. The market is a new building in the centre of the town, built from designs by Piers St. Aubyn, Esq., and butcher's meat, poultry, fish, butter, vegetables, &c., are sold here. The post-office stands in Fore-street. There are several charitable institutions, besides a naval and military Female Orphan Asylum; a royal military hospital, and British Female Orphan Asylum: there is also a poorhouse.
The Royal Devonport Dockyard is on the W. of the town, and has a frontage on the Hamoaze of 1,160 yards, and an area of 711 acres. The men employed number about 2,000. The basin and two docks were built in the time of William III., and two others by George III. The docks are called the South, Head, Stem, New, and North New docks; the last is the largest, measuring 272 feet by 56 feet 7 inches. The yard contains, in addition to three building-slips, shops for joiners, blacksmiths, sailmakers, &c., pay office, model-house, storehouses, and a chapel, erected, on the site of one built in 1700, by subscription among the officers and men. The gun-wharf, to the N. of the docks, covering about 5 acres, was built by Vanbrugh, and contains officers' houses, armory, storehouses for shot, &c. The powder magazine is at Bull Point, and the victualling office at Stonehouse. At Morice Town there is a " steam-yard," for fitting out steam vessels, commenced by Lord Auckland in 1846. The Duke of Wellington was examined and repaired there before her voyage to the Baltic. A tunnel has been constructed to connect this with the dockyard.
Devonport, with Stonehouse and Stoke, returns two members to the House of Commons. The charter of incorporation was granted in 1836. The municipal borough is divided into six wards-St. Aubyn, Tamar, Morice, Stoke, St. John's, and Clowance; and the local government is administered by a mayor, 12 aldermen, 36 councillors, town-clerk, recorder, and other officers, under the style of "mayor, aldermen, and burgesses of the borough of Devonport." The mayor is the returning officer, and the voters number nearly 3,000. Quarter sessions of the peace are held here. In 1851 the population of the municipal borough was 38,180, and the parliamentary 50,400 and odd. In 1861 the municipal borough contained 4,189 houses, and 50,440 persons; the parliamentary 5,434 houses, and 64,783 persons.
The parish church of Stoke stands about half a mile from the dockyard gates. Under a recent Act four new parishes have been formed out of the parish of Stoke Damerell-St. Paul, St. Stephen, St. Mary, and St. James, all perpetual cars., in the patronage of the crown and bishop alternately, and churches have been built for each. St. Stephen's has a very handsome spire. There are three chapels-of-ease-St. Aubyn's, in Chapel-street, a curacy, value £117, in the patronage of the rector; St. Michael's, between Morice Town and Stoke; and St. John's, in Duke-street, a curacy, value £150; in the patronage of the rector. The barrack church is in George-square, and there is another in the dockyard, previously mentioned. The Wesleyans and other Dissenters have several places of worship in the town.
The schools are numerous. There is a classical and mathematical proprietary school, founded 1820, a British and foreign boys' and girls' school, a free school for the orphans of sailors and soldiers, and a subscription school sustained by men employed in the dockyard. The Cornwall railway passes through Stoke, and finally crosses the Tamar at Saltash by means of an iron bridge. The high road to Cornwall passes through the town, and crosses the Hamoaze by a steam floating bridge, from Morice Town to Tor Point. Steamers run hourly from Cornwall-street to Saltash, and others run up the Tamar and to St. Germain's. There are hot and cold baths and bathing machines at Richmond Walk. The town supports one weekly newspaper-the Devonport Independent. The Devon and Cornwall, and the National and Provincial banks have branches here.
The market days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday."
"KEYHAM, a steamer factory adjoining Devonport dockyard in the parish of Stoke Damerel, county Devon. These works occupy above 15 acres, and have cost the government £1,200,000. There is a wrought iron caison to the dock, 82 feet by 42, and 13½ thick."
"MORICE TOWN, a suburb of Devonport in the parish of Stoke Damerel, county Devon, half a mile N. of Devonport. It is situated on a creek of Hamoaze, near New Passage, in Plymouth Harbour, and opposite Devonport Dockyard. It has a spacious basin for ocean steamers called the Keyham basin, also wharfs, a powder magazine, blockhouse, and extensive brewery."
"NEW PASSAGE, the ferry from Devonport in the parish of Stoke Damerel, county Devon, to Tor Point. It is situated near the mouth of the river Tamar, by which a basin is formed, extending nearly 4 miles in length, by 1½ mile in breadth, called the Bay of Hamoaze."