A special memorial at Weston Mill cemetery has been given a spruce up – the city’s tribute to Agnes Weston.
One of Plymouth’s favourite adopted daughters, Agnes Weston was buried at the cemetery with full naval honours in 1918 for her work providing a place for a home onshore for sailors.
Agnes (1840 to 1918) was born in London and began hospital visiting and parish work in Bath, before founding the Royal Naval Sailors’ Rests, or clubs for sailors, at Devonport and Portsmouth.
The Devonport Sailors’ Rest was opened in 1876. In its first year 127,000 servicemen visited the rest and 10,488 had spent a night there. It was destroyed during the Devonport Blitz of 1941, but the foundations of a new five storey building in Albert Road were laid in 1958.
For 3s 6d a night, a serviceman could have a bed-sitting-room, with hot and cold running water, an electric shaver socket, a combined wardrobe and dressing-table, and a bed with a foam mattress. For shorter stays he could have a cabin, half the size of the bed-sitting-rooms, for 2s 6d per night. Breakfast cost two shillings.
This building was closed at the end of 2001 and in 2003 was redeveloped to provide accommodation for students.
A specialist mason carried out the clean-up which involved special chemicals to remove green staining and lichen as well as checking the stability of the statue.
Councillor Brian Vincent, Cabinet member for the Environment said: “Aggie Weston became synonymous with Devonport and sailors and she is a name we do not want to forget. It’s a nice opportunity to remind people that this memorial is here and that we as a Council and a city have not forgotten her legacy.”