The British Empire and its effect on Plymouth


This image was taken sometime between in the 1880s or 1890s or at least before the Technical Institute was built in 1897. Originally these fields had been part of the fields of fire of the guns defending the Devonport Lines until the 1850s. Once the Palmerston Forts had been constructed there was no longer any purpose for this line of defences and it was set aside for use as Devonport Park and as an impromptu parade and muster ground as in this photograph. It was helpful that it was close to the LSWR train station which can be seen to the back right which opened in 1876 making it easier to transport troops to and from Devonport.

This photograph shows British Infantry parading in red uniforms. The photograph The blue helmet was adopted in 1878 so the photo can be dated between then and 1881 as the officer has rank badges on his shoulder (moved from the collar in 1881). They are wearing their home service uniforms in full dress. It is possible that some of these soldiers may have been transiting to or from South Africa or Afghanistan as both were active theatres of operation at the time.

Empire in Your Backyard: Plymouth Article

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by Stephen Luscombe