Church of St Michael and St Joseph

The Catholic Church of St Michael and St Joseph was built in Prince Gardens, at James Street, Mutton Cove. Construction began in 1859 with a nave and aisle, the foundation stone was laid 25 June 1860, and the opening celebrations were led by Bishop Vaughan on 19 December 1861 [1]. The church was primarily intended for military catholics, for army and navy personnel.

Earlier 20th century postcard St Michaels and St Josephs.
Early 20th century postcard of the church at James Street, Mutton Cove. The builder was a Mr Roberts, who also built the cathedral in Plymouth. [1]

A catholic primary school was built at the same time as, and adjacent to, the church in 1860, but that closed in 1972 when the pupils moved to a new school, St Joseph's Primary, built on part of the old Raglan Barracks. [2]

In 1984 the Church of St Michael and St Joseph was sold and the building demolished. It appears that part of the front wall of the church boundary remains standing to this day; the low wall bordering the pavement in the top image, could be the same wall bordering the pavement in the modern-day image, see right of photo below. The street cobbles in the top image are long gone; they were once all over Devonport, but now only a few side lanes remain with cobbles.

St Michaels Close at 2002

This 2002 image was taken from the same position as the early photograph; the plot now contains modern-day housing, and what was originally Prince Gardens, pre 1859, is now named St Michael's Close.

In 1985 a new, replacement, catholic church was built in Devonport, [3] on part of the old Raglan Barracks and just 100 metres from the catholic primary school. The new church was named St Joseph, with the entrance being in Raglan Road. Parts of the original church, including the foundation stone of 1860, was used in building St Josephs.[3]

[1] History of the Plymouth Cathedral
[2] The website of St Joseph's School
[3] Brian Moseley

(page added 20 December 2011)