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The team at the Royal William Yard are doing a great job of sharing its interesting history with people during this year’s festival. In case you’ve missed their posts, here are some helpful links:
- Royal William Yard History News Release
- Royal William Yard History Booklet
- Children’s History Activity Pack
- Children’s History Pack Activity Answers
- Children’s History Colouring Sheets
The team are also running a history quiz each Thursday on the Yard’s Facebook page.
The Royal William Yard was designed and built by architect and civil engineer, Sir John Rennie between 1824 and 1835. He had previously been involved in the construction of London Bridge.
Taking up some 14 acres and made from Plymouth limestone and Dartmoor granite, its purpose was to bring the manufacturing and storage of food, drink and other naval supplies within one secure site close to Devonport dockyard.
It was named after King William IV who, as the Duke of Clarence, laid the foundation stone. You can see his statue standing over the entrance.
The first building to be finished was named after him. Fittingly, this was also the first building that Urban Splash completed when they started their redevelopment work.
In the historic painting from the city’s art collections the Slaughterhouse, Mills Bakery, Melville and Brewhouse buildings are all visible.
The Slaughterhouse was used as such for 26 years. Up to 100 bullocks were slaughtered there every day!
The Mills Bakery was used as a bread and biscuit factory before becoming a clothing and equipment store.
The Melville, with its distinctive clock tower, was a major store for food, equipment and clothing and an administration centre.
The Brewhouse was a repair workshop, rum store and even a torpedo workshop.
Although decommissioned in 1992, the Yard remains one of the Navy’s finest and one of Plymouth’s most celebrated architectural listed monuments.
Next time you’re able to visit or walk though the Royal William Yard, take a minute to remind yourself that you’re spending time in one of the greatest engineer-designed group of buildings in the country.