Western Morning News Offices

Egg and Dart Cornice – Newspaper article (Western Morning News, 1938); 1938

The Pinwill workshop in St Lawrence Yard was shared during the later years with a major building contractor, J.W. Spencer. In 1937 the company won a prestigious contract to build the new premises for The Western Morning News Co. Ltd in what was then Frankfort Street (Western Morning News, 1937). Although the frontage was designed in the Queen Anne style, it was a thoroughly modern building, with reinforced concrete floors to withstand bombing. This explains why it was the only building left standing in Frankfort Street after the Blitz (Twyford, 2005) and therefore why it is out of line with the frontage of the post-war development in what is now New George Street. A report on the building after the opening in December 1938 stated that the walls of the large ground floor office were panelled in pine to their full height and that the ‘cornices are richly decorated with fine hand carving, which is typical in design and craftsmanship of the best work of the Georgian era’ (Western Morning News, 1938d p. 5). Almost at the end of a long list of minor contractors we read that ‘Miss Pinwill, Plymouth’ was responsible for the egg and dart carving for the cornice. Whether this commission had anything to do with J.W. Spencer being the main building contractor is not known, although Violet was certainly not in need of work being passed her way at this time. The cornice, unfortunately, is no longer there. When the newspaper relocated to purpose-built premises at Derriford on the outskirts of Plymouth in 1993 (plymouthherald.co.uk), the New George Street building was developed into a complex of shops with only the facade retained.


Twyford, H. P. (2005) It Came To Our Door. Plymouth in World War II – A Journalist’s Eye Witness Account. Revised and illustrated by C. Robinson. Pen & Ink Publishing, Plymouth.

Western Morning News (1937) New premises for The Western Morning News. 19 October p. 3.

Western Morning News (1938) Notable Features of the Nation’s Most Modern Newspaper Office. 2 December pp. 5-6.