A hospice with a special place in the heart of the community has opened an impressive new shop in a landmark Kingsbridge location.
St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth is the talk of the town after taking over the ground floor of a distinctive historic building and creating an attractive and spacious retail outlet that will help fund the charity’s vital end of life care.
It can be difficult to access services of all kinds in more rural and remote areas like Kingsbridge.
St Luke’s is well known and respected locally for providing expert care for terminally ill people and support for their families, in their own homes, in hospital and at their specialist unit at Turnchapel.
Open seven days a week, 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays, the new shop is selling pre-loved clothing for women, men and children, shoes and accessories, jewellery and much more.
A sparkling opening reception attended by local dignitaries, including the Mayor of Kingsbridge, Councillor Philip Cole, and Amanda Bloomer, president of Kingsbridge Estuary Rotary, illustrated how pleased shoppers are to see St Luke’s retail back in the heart of the community.
The charity previously ran a popular, but much smaller, outlet at the top of the town for more than 25 years but, sadly, it closed during the Covid pandemic. The new store at the bottom of Fore Street is not only much larger, it has also helped to inject fresh life into a Grade II listed building that has an interesting past and some lovely architectural features.
Research by St Luke’s volunteer and fund raiser Colin Pincombe has revealed that the site started life in the mid-18th century as the Blue Anchor Inn and brewhouse.
The eight-bedroom hotel, which boasted a bar, butcher’s shop and stables, was popular with masters of vessels sailing between Kingsbridge, Plymouth and further afield from what was then known as Dodbrooke Quay.
Builders carrying out the recent refurbishments discovered clay pipes consistent with those times.
The present three-storey stucco structure dates back to the 1860s, and its exterior was listed for preservation in 1972.
The building was modernised and renamed the Quay Hotel by its new owners, Courage Brewery, in the early 1980s. Now the building has had a sensitive makeover and houses St Luke’s on the ground floor, featuring an original fireplace and 19th century brickwork, with residential accommodation above.
Shop manager Maureen Clarke and assistants Molly Brown, Sarah Hunt and Julie Stephens, who all live in Kingsbridge, are eager to welcome customers and receive quality donated items.