Heads, Shoulders & Safe Hands & Safe Hands!!


Ships’ figureheads have a long history embodying religion, symbolism and superstition…

These amazing objects were mounted on the bows of sailing ships for thousands of years. They were believed to embody the spirit of the vessel they were on. Figureheads offered crew protection from harsh seas and safety on their journeys home.

The Egyptians mounted figures of holy birds to provide protection and vision. The Phoenicians featured horse heads symbolising swiftness. The Romans and Greeks carved wolf or boar heads representing ferocity. All often mounted on, or carved directly onto, the most forward part of the ship’s bow.

Naval galleons, whose figureheads were often carved animals or heraldic devices, were the basis of England’s rise as a great maritime power…

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the lion was the standard figurehead for lower-ranking Royal Navy warships. It symbolised power, speed and aggression. There are just two British ones that have survived. One is at the National Maritime Museum in London.

Lion figureheads went out of fashion towards the end of the 18th century. They were replaced by full-length human forms.  As many sailors couldn’t read, the ships’ figureheads often represented the name of the ship.

Although ship design eventually made figureheads redundant, there are still around 200 from the Royal Navy that have survived since their sea-service retirement. They are admired by all that see them.

Nip & Tuck…

The superstitions of seamen meant that figureheads held great significance to those on board and they would go to great lengths to protect it. Fourteen figureheads have, over the last two years, had a new ‘crew’ of protectors.  Three specialist conservation teams in London, Devon and Cornwall, led by Orbis Conservation, have painstakingly been loving and restoring 14 wooden figureheads to their former glory. These figureheads are now officially out of retirement!  They had been rescued from the Royal Navy’s ships before they were scrapped.

Led by Plymouth City Council, the figurehead conservation project is the most significant of its kind in a generation. It not only secures the future of the Devonport figureheads, but identifies The Box as a centre of excellence and innovation for the preservation and display of maritime heritage, with one of the largest collections of figureheads in the UK.

Now rescued and back in Plymouth, we hear that one of the most badly damaged of the figureheads was HMS Topaz. A three-quarter-length female bust carved in 1858. Her ship was responsible for removing two of the Easter Island statues that are now in the British Museum’s collection.

This wasn’t a small restoration for any of the figureheads and the talented conservation teams were dealing with vast objects! The largest of the 14 wooden figureheads to be rescued was HMS Royal William.   “King Billy” is a carving of William IV which was completed in 1833. It stands at 13ft tall and in total weighs two–tonne!

After years of water damage, there was an abundance of rot and decay throughout the 14. The figureheads had to undergo some rather complex analysis and restoration; it was no mean feat. Artists and restorers have scraped away layers of paint, dug out rot and make-shift repairs.

The Display…

In Spring 2020 the restoration will be shared with an ambitious aerial display concept in the foyer of The Box, whilst they are on loan from the  National Museum of the Royal Navy.

The display will see the figureheads being airborne! This obviously required teams of conservators and structural engineers collaborating. They had to develop innovative solutions in pursuit of the fabulous end goal. They have come up with complex but elegant structural mounts, and each figurehead will be secured in place with just three cables. This will create the effect of a fleet of carvings, simply and elegantly floating above visitors.

It’s true to say that they had many challenges to overcome. Yet The Box is a pioneer for conservation and innovation and they soon became a new ‘safe home’. Not only for the figureheads, but for Plymouth’s important national collections and archives.

The ‘heads’ are in safe ‘hands’!

The Box…

The Box certainly won’t only be home to these maritime gems! It will be a space for new galleries, a striking elevated archive with learning facilities. Hence the excitement within the city.

Although the Plymouth City Museum was probably one of the most loved buildings by generations; it was closed in 2016. However, this was not without good reason. As a result of the closure there was a number of pop up, touring displays around the city. This kept the cities history offer in place in preparation for The Box.

The Box is a £40 million complex. It completely transforms, extends and combines the original City Museum and Library buildings and St. Luke’s Church.

As a result, this new building will form the largest museum and art gallery space in the South West of England. It opens it’s doors in Spring 2020 to form part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations.

Incredibly, these figureheads weigh over 20 tonnes collectively! These substantial retired icons form part of Britain’s maritime history, and now have a new home. These amazing figureheads will be on public display from Spring 2020.  Suspended within the main atrium; in a huge sweep that appears to sail across the glazed façade.

This will be a brand new museum. It will have innovation and preservation at the core; for these sensational maritime oldies and so much more!



What’s In A City..?

Welcome to Plymouth.

A green, blue, yellow and grey dazzling patchwork city. A pioneer of marine, culture, engineering, tourism and enterprise. A platform for beauty and eccentricity.

Welcome to our exhilarating and endlessly intriguing city by the sea!

If you haven’t been before, perhaps you are wondering what all the fuss is about! Let us let you into the secret of our city by the sea…

Let’s scratch the surface…

With one of the world most impressive natural harbours and the Mayflower Steps on the blue side. A city regenerated with passion and pride after WW2 bombing on the sparkling grey side. To miles of craggy, beach-fringed coastlines.  Along with heady hills, moody moorland and wonderful woodlands on the green side; Britain’s Ocean City is more than just one colour – it’s a never-ending feast for the eyes and soul!

There is a lot to see and do, but there is just one perfect base to see all of it; Strathmore House Apartments!


Just moments away from our 1,2,3 & 4 bedroomed serviced apartments are the Barbican’s cobbled streets. Then, a stone’s throw stands Smeatons Tower, proudly watching over The Hoe. There are trendsetting shops on the high street, with cafés and restaurants filling the air with the aroma of fresh, seasonal ingredients being cooked to perfection.

Living History

Plymouth’s story stretches back to the Bronze Age! Between now and the so much of Plymouth’s make-up has been pioneering. For instance, in 1254 it gained status as a town and in 1439, became the first town in England to be granted a Charter by Parliament. The city is also awash, both from our past and in our present of inventors, eccentrics, dreamers and entrepreneurs. We are a city that is in constant pursuit of opportunity, survival but also revival.

It’s fascinating to think that Plymouth connects to some of the all-time greats; Charles Darwin, Lady Nancy Astor, John Foulston, Brunnel and Sir Francis Drake – these name just a few!

It’s not the biggest city in the world, but it packs a rich and impressive history into its pint-sized shores!

Urban Experiences

Our city centre is also not to be shunted; yes our vista is exceptional but our shopping and food offer is amazing too. The Barbican and City Centre encompass everything from top name brands to quirky and impressive independents. Plymouth is a trend-setter, a history-maker and game changer when it comes to fashion and style, in parts thanks to the amazing creative scene. There is a varied urban landscape to explore in and around Plymouth too, with clusters of smaller areas like Plymstock, Stoke and Devonport that offer their own history and amazing opportunities for unique and bespoke retail therapy!

Wherever you find yourself in and around Plymouth, expect urban adventures aplenty.

Cultural Everywhere  

Art is seen by some as a luxury. To Plymouth, Art and Culture is seen as an everyday in every way!

2020 is a big year for the cultural scene in Plymouth. It commemorates the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s journey to America. Plymouth is using this milestone to connect education, military, sports, tourism and business sectors to the core of many of the celebrations; and the Plymouth Culture scene is right there too!

The Mayflower 400 commemorations have many partners who are working together to help artists and arts organisations in Plymouth’s cultural sector create projects which explore the Mayflower 400 story.

Plymouth really is the cultural centre of Devon and Cornwall and there is always something to enjoy in Plymouth no matter what the day, week, month or year! From amazing art to family fun, brilliant music to fabulous festivals and plenty of historic attractions.

Plymouth has been the home to legendary artists such as Beryl Cook, Robert Lenkiewicz and Sir Joshua Reynolds. It’s a platform and springboard that connects young, fresh new talent to the world and not forgetting that Plymouth has a thriving art scene of its own.

There are independent galleries, regular public events including outdoor theatre productions, open-air cinemas, and arts and crafts markets. Upon every twist and turn is a cultural explosion of Art, Theatre, Live Performances, Galleries and more. An offer so diverse and eclectic you can’t be anything but amazed.

Our city is truly inspiring and beautiful, with kindness and pride at the core. If you haven’t been to Britain’s Ocean City that you really need to plan your trip now! Stay with us; we’ll help you explore and fall in love with our city by the sea.

Illuminate Plymouth | 28th November – 1st December 2019

Plymouth is an ambitious and inspiring city…

Britain’s Ocean City is full of beauty and innovation at every turn; Plymouth always has something wonderful to see, do or be part of. One of those ‘things’ is an event that has quickly become one of the city’s best-love FREE out door event…


Illuminate Plymouth welcomes thousands of people of all ages each year to Plymouth. It runs across four FABULOUS days and has added a real richness to Plymouth’s dynamic and eclectic programme of events and activities.

It’s a series of dazzling installations and projections that make Plymouth shine brightly. The festival also provides the most vibrant, fun and inspiring experience for EVERYONE!

This year it will run from 28th November – 1st December from the festival centre at Royal William Yard.

BUT WAIT! This year there is more…

New for 2019 there will be additional light installations across the city at the Barbican, the Watefront and Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park.

Illuminate is a free event and is open to everyone and a stunning event for people of all ages.

The installations can be viewed by boat, on foot or  bike. You can wander around and explore the works at your leisure, or perhaps follow one of the dedicated routes which enhance the experience.

This 4-day event will open the Mayflower 400 commemorations and is inspired by the values of freedom, humanity, imagination, and future. The festival offers a host of workshops, installations, performances and projections with various opportunities for you to take part in activities or simply wonder at the spectacular illuminations.


Claire Honey, Project Manager for the festival, said: “In 2018, Illuminate stunned with incredible light installations, interactive artworks and spectacular projections from local, national and international artists. The festival was enjoyed by over 28,000 people across the four days. Now a multi-site festival we’re really excited to welcome new artists creating awe-inspiring light art to inspire visitors of all ages.”

Adrian Vinken OBE, Chair Mayflower 400 and Destination Plymouth, said: “Growing on the back of previous years’ festivals Illuminate has become a real highlight in Plymouth’s annual events calendar. It’s such a special event and we’re thrilled that this year it will act as the opening moment of the Mayflower 400 commemorations, not just in Plymouth but across the whole country.”


2020 | A Wonderful Year For Plymouth …


Plymouth is revving its 2020 engine…

The noise is getting louder! The plans are getting closer! The events calendar is having every ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ crossed! Mayflower400 is almost here!

With 2020 comes over 400 moments to explore EVERY aspect of the Mayflower voyage. I wonder if 400 years ago they could have imagined such celebrations?

There will be art, music, theatre, exhibitions, storytelling, digital innovation, literature, crafts, festivals, debates and that’s just mentioning a hand-full!  Included in the year will be a diverse approach to the themes of Imagination, Humanity, Freedom and Future. There won’t be a week out of the 52 that doesn’t have a nod in the direction of Mayflower.

2020 will not only be a year for Plymouth to be proud. It will be a year whereby Plymouth will welcome many new friends, from all over the globe.

The Mayflower 400 programme will explore all aspects of the Mayflower history and legacy. Nevertheless, the year won’t only mark a historical moment. It won’t only unfold a legacy, but will also be shaping things to come.


There are many things that Plymouth does well, and one of them is most defiantly the annual calendar of events. Signature events that happen every year, and that grow and grow in popularity, foot fall and wonder.

Events ranging from the British Fireworks Championship through to the Seafood Festival … with more in between and ether side! Don’t Worry Though! These events aren’t going anywhere next year! They will remain and they will continue to grow throughout 2020. All that will happen is that they will take on a Mayflower 400 twist; the energy and excitement will be an all time high – making 2020 a great years to visit!

So, whether you are a new visitor or a long-time friend, next year is the perfect year to visit our city by the sea. Stay with us to be in the centre of the action, in the glorious home from home comfort of a serviced apartment.

An Elizabethan House & A Modern City…

It’s like you can already see the life running back through its beams…

We talk so much about Plymouth’s rich history, especially  here at Strathmore House Apartments; in part because our history plays such a major role in Plymouth’s make-up; but also because we are so very proud of our city and where we have come from.

Our heritage and historic buildings are beautiful assets that make our city by the sea so unique.

They tell the story of our past and we strongly feel that we should all do what we can to protect and cherish them. Not least because it feels so sad seeing them empty and looking unloved, but also because when you start reviving these buildings, it brings communities together to appreciate local heritage. Whats more, for our visitors, it gives the opportunity to have history brought to life.

The historic environment in any city offers people a sense of place, a sense of pride and a sense of belonging; so when we heard that the restoration and reinterpretation of Plymouth’s historic Elizabethan House was moving into a new phase – we were more than just a little excited!


Making it happen…

Led by Plymouth City Council, with additional funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, the Coastal Revival Fund and The Pilgrim’s Trust, it’s one of the key legacy projects for the city’s Mayflower 400 commemorations. These commemorations will create an opening, a portal, that we can all look back into to see what was; helping us both appreciate the here and now but also understand what we can strive for in the future.

Recent experience in Plymouth has demonstrated that integrating historic buildings and areas within and around our city can create popular, successful urban quarters with character. Places that people can enjoy working in, living in and of course visiting.

Taking the Royal William Yard as an example. Just a short stroll from the apartments, or perhaps a boat ride, you have the largest collection of Grade I Listed naval building in the UK. Now a thriving pocket of wonderful riches and home to restaurants, boutiques,  artists workshops, bakery’s and so much more. Here you are offered an experience that is second to none. Where the shadow of the past is very much in the present.

Such regeneration represents an opportunity for conservation and development to work together, hand in hand. To transform the built environment – the greyer of spaces and the public realm – so that the communities that live and work there, can fall back in love with the space once again.

A ‘Modern City’ doesn’t have to be a new one!

It simply has to fit with present realities, the rhythm of the city, whilst bringing charm and charisma alongside a well narrated sense of belonging.

Plymouth is a city so easy to fall in love with. A city everyone we know is proud to call home. This is partly because all sides and all sectors of Plymouth work together. They are prepared to seek pragmatic and creative solutions and make opportunities that balance new uses with the need for conservation. Plymouth so cleverly turns heritage into a positive advantage for everyone. So surely when we talk of a ‘Modern City’ – this is what we talk of?

Our collective past can ably support our futures.

Plymouth’s contribution as a city to all of our history can only be a positive thing.  So, we will make sure that we keep you updated with the exciting new developments as they happen, both with the Elizabethan House and all the other Heritage Works in Plymouth.

These treasured buildings don’t belong to Plymouth;  they form  part of all of our histories and so belong to us all. Therefore, for successful heritage-based regeneration to be achievable, we all need to support it. Be that through interest, enquiries, expertise or knowledge – then of course, when it’s open – lots of visitors!

To all the companies, individuals and collectives that are working so hard on making our history a moment of out today; we at Strathmore House Apartments, and on behalf of our guests, thank you. 


2020 – Looking Ahead…

pile of three books and reading glasses on a sofa with orange cushion

In hospitality, we are always looking ahead, making sure that we understand new trends and changes in the needs of our guests.

In January we are planning Christmas and in May we are looking to the summer … a year from now!

So, as 2020 edges closer in our ‘hospitality’ calendar, we take a look at how Strathmore House Apartments can align with shifts in the market and customer service.

Looking ahead to the future gives us the opportunity to prepare for any major trends and stay on point for our guests. We consider all new trends and challenges as opportunities to make experiences even better.

Here are two key areas that our guests tell us will continue to be essential for them in 2020, when choosing their holiday home away from home…

Sustainability & Environmental Impact |

We hear every day from guests that they value and expect our business choices to be as sustainable and ‘green’ as we can possibly make them; and that wont be changing.

Light sensors, recycling and up-cycling, using sustainable materials like locally sourced toiletries, and reducing single-use plastics are already outcomes of redeveloping our Environmental policy in 2017.

2020 will be much the same, and wherever and whenever possible we will ensure that our choices are as ‘green’ as they can possibly be without impacting or affecting our customer’s experiences.

Health & Well-being |

Increasingly, we know that our guests are seeking health and well-being benefits from their hospitality experiences; whether it’s through their food and catering choices or accommodation.

With our fully fitted kitchens, our guests have the ability to remain healthy and cook as they would at home. That coupled with the free use of Club Continental; a leisure complex with indoor heated pool, sauna, steam room and two air-conditioned gyms, means that looking after your health and wellbeing whilst staying with us is made easy!

We know that 2020 will bring new challenges and therefore opportunities for us to make experiences even better for our guests.

We can only anticipate so much, so we listen wholeheartedly to our guests and what they ‘need’ from Strathmore House Apartments.

If you would like to contact us about how you see the future needs of our guests evolving – we would love to hear from you.

2020 Dates For Your Diary…

Mayflower 400  | 2020 | A Year Of Celebrations

As many of our guests book to return year on year; we thought we would share some exciting news and dates for 2020.

2020, the year of the Mayflower 400 Celebrations, a year set to be an exciting one for Plymouth and all who visit.

Within the hospitality sector, we are unsure of the ‘true’ impact it will have on Plymouth Tourism and the visitors economy, it’s a once in a lifetime celebration so we have nothing to compare it to!

We therefore don’t know how busy  it will be in comparison to other years that you have visited, but what we do know is it will certainly add value to your stay with us here in Plymouth.

Many of our guests have set times of the year that they visit us; but rest assure, no matter when you come in 2020, there WILL be things happening with a Mayflower spin for you to enjoy.

With all this in mind; I thought I would give you a heads up on what we know, and what is planned for the ‘remarkable’ year of history, culture and community!

What is it?

2020 is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage. One of the most integral journeys in global history and a defining moment in the shared history of Britain, the US and the Netherlands.

Plymouth is using this milestone as a unique opportunity to highlight Plymouth’s exceptional heritage; to promote our visitor offer to friends old and new; and to bring communities together to celebrate our city.

What will be happening?

The ‘Mayflower Programme’ will be a year of prime partnerships, of which Strathmore House Apartments will play a significant role. There will be 400 moments to explore all aspects of the Mayflower Voyage throughout the year of 2020, including: art, music, theatre, exhibitions, immersive storytelling, digital innovation, literature, crafts, sports, festivals, debates, business activities and much more.


Major new cultural attractions will open in Plymouth for 2020, including The Box, new heritage trails and the Elizabethan House.

Although still not set in stone, the rough date for these things will be March 2020 for the launch of the trails, April 2020 for the opening of The Box and The Elizabethan House  early in the year.

The Box is a £38m project, the symbol of 2020, a high profile gallery and history centre that will hold all of the Plymouth and Devon archives; it will be a must see for anyone visiting Plymouth.

By January 2020, there will have been a huge investment in the public realm, with new signage, water taxis and literature for the years events. There is said to be almost £200m to be invested in Plymouth by 2020. For those of you that love it as it is, please don’t worry; you will not miss the old – you will simply celebrate the newly transformed Plymouth.

You may have noticed seeing Plymouth advertised in your home towns; this is due to the national and international marketing programme. The city has been working hard celebrating not only our history, but also our future.

Signature Events…

Mayflower Ocean Festival | 4th-10 May 2020

This will celebrate Plymouth’s status as Britain’s Ocean City, aimed to get people on the water (inc events such as Transat, OSTAR & TWOSTAR races and Pirates weekend)

Mayflower Week | 14th-20th September

A week of activities, including;

  • A visit from a replica 15th century tall ship
  • Daily fly-bys
  • International field gun comp
  • The Navy’s Rehabilitation Triathlon
  • PLUS – two headline events yet to be revealed!

Mayflower Ceremony – 16th September

A four nations civic ceremony. This will be a united, city event, with mass participation throughout sectors, communities, schools and all over the city.

Mayflower Muster – 19th – 20th September  

Celebration event of the world’s foremost Navel basis; there will be a host of activities that will be truly breathtaking.

Illuminate will be the book end to the events in November 2019 and November 2020

An there’s more…


A production from the Theatre Royal Plymouth from the Wampanoag Tribe; this will be extraordinarily good as they are an amazing producing theatre,  plus Arts Council England are supporting  a series of events  throughout the year.

Culture Fund have also given investment to the city to create provoking experiences throughout the year. Settlement by The Consious Sisters and Cannupa Hanska are creating a large scale ‘radical’ installation in Central Park, it will run for 8 weeks in the summer exploring colonialism, migration and the deep effects of indigenous people.

A local favourite; Street Factory CIC will be bringing the city together with Hip Hop events. Le Navet Bete (a brilliant comedy/clowning theatre company) will be at the Barbican Theatre in August and September for a HILARIOUS production about 4 people trying to flee their past lives. They are BRILLIANT and a real must see!  There will also be three major artist events which will profile people of colour in the art sector.

In May, June and July there will be ‘Mayflower Music’ at historic venues in Plymouth, including St Andrews and The Guildhall.

There will be lots of film and video commissioned in art venues and community spaces and there will of course be Pride 2020 and lots more!

As you can see, the city that we all love will be full of vibrant and rich events and activities, many free to attend and all set to be totally inspiring.

We would love for you to join us in 2020, our apartments are listed on our website to give you time to book and plan your trip, and we will update everyone with as much information on the year as we can.

If you would like to keep in touch with the developments as they happen; follow them on Twitter and Like them on Facebook!

To a year of celebrations; to seeing you again soon!

Plymouth In 2020…

Britain’s Ocean City | Mayflower 400 

Here at Strathmore House Apartments we pride ourselves on offering a quality experience for both our leisure and business travellers, in a city we love to call home.

As the end of the first month of 2019 draws to an end and we step closer to 2020, we are having more and more conversations with our guests about the Mayflower 400 celebrations, and what it’s all about!

Strathmore House Apartments offers a great home away from home for guests visiting Britain’s Ocean City.  We welcome thousands of guests and enjoy helping them explore our city and our rich history.

We ask Elinor Eaton, our Development Manager, to give us her take on both the planned Mayflower 400 celebrations. To see what she thinks the future holds for Plymouth looking through the lens of ‘Mayflower400’.

She says:

 “I think firstly we must acknowledge Plymouth as a city. We saw a tremendous  influx of repeat leisure and business travellers in 2018. And we continue to see that in our bookings this year and next. We can’t put this purely on them finding our accommodation – as wonderful as it is – it’s as much to do with Plymouth really shining at the moment.  

The work that brilliant organisations such as Visit Plymouth, University of Plymouth, Theatre Royal Plymouth and the Real Ideas Organisation do (to name just a few of course!) is truly remarkable. It’s a privilege to have worked in a city, across all sectors, for the last 20 years and to have experienced first-hand the united sense of pride and passion; as well as the courage and confidence to continually make positive change happen for our city.

By working together as a city, across all sectors, collaborating in the truest of senses, we have passionately and skilfully placed Plymouth on the national and international map for all to see and enjoy. What we are being told by our guests more and more is that Plymouth is a ‘vibrant, inspiring and beautiful destination’.

Strathmore House Apartments offers the space, comfort and overall brilliant experience for our guests, but we are extremely grateful for the dedication of organisations that share our pride for Plymouth. Those who all work so hard to make it shine.

That is ultimately why people want to come to Plymouth to work and play in the first place.”

Here at Strathmore House we are asked on a weekly basis by guests:

‘What is Mayflower 400?’

We are also asked if it’s something they should come back for and if so ‘when’ should they plan to be in Plymouth during 2020.

Elinor explains: 

“Sometimes it’s too easy to forget that people don’t all know about Mayflower 400.

It’s so close to our hearts here in Plymouth.  Many of us are living in and around it daily. Sometimes we forget to stop, share our successes and celebrate with those outside of our everyday circles.

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth UK to Plymouth Massachusetts. It set sail just moments away from Strathmore House Apartments!

We have written a dedicated blog to help guests who are planning on joining us, to plan their diaries. But in brief, 2020 will be a year of amazing events and a programme that will share the values of migration, tolerance, freedom and democracy and tell the story of a ship and its passengers.

These were an incredibly brave group of people that now have more than 30 million US citizens who are their descendants!

There are still dates and events that are being planned that we don’t know about; but what we do know is it will be a spectacular year of celebration.”

A city blessed with hidden gems and wonderfully rich history, it’s easy to see why people want to explore Plymouth, but we ask Elinor:

“What impact do you think the last 400 years will have on the next?”

“Success breeds success. The harder we all work to make tomorrow better than today, the greater the springboard that will connect us to an even stronger social and economic climate.

I think that more and more people are seeing the city transform; both tangibly (with the landscape changing and developing) but also with how we as ‘locals’ see our city.

2020 has given us a moment in time in which as businesses, organisations, individuals and communities we have the ability to unite and make positive change happen.

Change is sometimes a blessing, but it’s often a conquest. 2020 is our magic moment as a city; a moment that will offer visitors an amazing lens to see Plymouth through, and create real advocates for the future. But it’s also a moment that encourages us all to realise our dreams for the future of Plymouth. What will the next 400 years look like and will we be looked back on as the Pilgrims of our time? I hope so.

All we can be certain of is that like Plymouth in the past; Plymouth in the future will be proud to welcome new friends to our city. And when we watch them leave see them  carrying with them fabulous memories of Britain’s Ocean City.”

One of 35 Million Mayflower Descendants…

box of old black and white photos

Our Development Manager, Elinor Eaton, digs up her roots and shares her story…

“Plymouth has unquestionably the finest natural location of any UK city. It’s easy to be connected and to care about our dazzling and enchanting home. The width and breadth of Plymouth’s offer takes a unique shape in comparison to other city destinations in the UK. It has a wealth of history and heritage.  Its cultural heartbeat creates a rhythm that is rich and varied and this coupled with its beautiful waterfront hook…what’s not to fall in love with?

For almost 20 years, my pride and passion for Plymouth has been evident both in my professional career and personally. Having worked for many years as a senior level fundraiser and consultant, my work took me all over the UK. But Plymouth was always home and the one place in which I wanted to make the biggest of differences.

A Big Change…

Three years ago; I had the opportunity of a new challenge in a new sector, with Plymouth very much at its heart.   I knew when entering the world of hospitality that a career here would be characterised by diversity and constant change. But I also knew that the challenge would be an exciting and rewarding one; keeping pace with upcoming industry trends and aligning the New Continental Hotel & Strathmore House Apartments with the changing rhythm of our city with the visions for 2020 and beyond.

I felt fortunate that I could see the sector through a new lens, but also see Plymouth in a new way; loving my city, sharing it with guests and ultimately telling a story about beautiful accommodation, in my favourite place to be.

There are many cities that have become cultural icons; incorporating buildings, landscapes and other features of huge cultural significance. However what Plymouth does so well is keep history alive and intact – a major challenge because it involves integrating conservation of the old in the development of the new.

Throughout my professional career, Mayflower 400 and 2020 has been more than just a date in the dairy for a city celebration. More than the Pilgrims being figures of legend and lore. It represented something of great significance to me and many of the people I worked with.  I just couldn’t pinpoint why!

Mayflower 400…

With 2020 now just a stone’s throw away, I was doing a huge amount of work  researching the historical footprint of both the New Continental Hotel and Strathmore House Apartments; learning and understanding more about the Mayflower and the seeds that were then planted helping make Plymouth what it is today.

I could not have dreamt that my very own Mayflower adventure would then begin!

The discovery of a Francis Eaton, son of John Eaton who married Sarah in 1618 on our Eaton Family Tree stored in Liverpool, shared the same information as the Francis, Sarah and Samuel Eaton who boarded the Mayflower to Plymouth in 1620.

Although currently we have yet to prove our ‘Eaton’ lineage. This has started a journey of discovery that may explain so much to our Plymouth loving family! ‘Pilgrim blood’ conversations are now flooding the ‘Eaton’ table talk debates. The genealogy bug has hit the Eaton shores and we are enthralled with every new discovery that we make.

Growing up as a very large family in Plymouth, we have always been told that we must be brave, bold and curious. That we must have pride in place and respect for our past and our family. No greater platform could these morals have grown than from a brave family who took sail in the middle of July 1620 to start a new life, unsure of what may become of them but spellbound by the desire of a better tomorrow and the curiosity of the promise of a New World.

Would I be so brave – I hope so!

The idea that my family history could be so entwined with a history of a city I care so much about, and that I have been so fascinated by for the last 20 years is thrilling. A journey that is so personal and has opened topics of our families past, making us all reflect on our DNA, our culture and beliefs.

Just as Francis and his wife Sarah and “sucking child” Samuel stepped off the Mayflower to the dawn of a new adventure almost 400 years ago, so too are we!”