St Augustine, Alexandra Road

St Augustine’s in Alexandra Road, Lipson, consecrated in 1904, was badly damaged by a bomb on 13 June 1943, although some furnishings were undamaged and returned to the church when it was restored, which took until 1954 (lostplymouthchurches). It was demolished in October 2001 to make way for student accommodation.

Reredos – Faculty (DHC DEX/9/a/3/1943/23) V. Pinwill designer; 1943

At DHC there is a faculty for a reredos to be added to an existing altar, with roundels depicting instruments of passion. It is dated 23 February 1943 and was granted on 3 June, just ten days before the distasterous bomb damage to the church. The papers include a scale coloured drawing of the reredos and two further drawings of panels, all signed by V. Pinwill, which indicates that she designed the piece, although it has to be assumed the work was not carried out.

Lady Chapel Altar – Cherry & Pevsner (2004); before 1954

Cherry & Pevsner was the only source for the altar, stating that it was carved by V. Pinwell (sic). More recently, a newspaper report on the reopening of the church after rebuilding (Evening Herald, 1954) came to light, together with a church guide of 1967 (both courtesy of Graham Naylor). The guide states that the altar was given to replace the one destroyed in the blitz, in memory of Olive Elisabeth Bedford who died in 1936. It goes on to say: ‘On the side can be seen carved an Air Raid Warden’s helmet, stirrup pump and bucket, gas mask, bell and rattle and a bomb to commemorate the fact that the Church was destroyed by War’. It also provides the information that the altar was carved by Hubert Minchinton, who worked for Violet for several decades. The whereabouts of this important altar is not known. Other work mentioned in the newspaper report, such as new pulpit, riddel posts and altar rail and the restoration of bench ends salvaged from the bombed church, may also have been carried out by Violet Pinwill.


Cherry, B. & Pevsner, N. (2004) The Buildings of England. Devon. Yale University Press, London.

DHC DEX/9/a/3/1943/23 Faculty. Plymouth St Augustine. Reredos.

Evening Herald (1954) Plymouth’s St Augustine’s Church Has Risen Again. 15 October.