Commercial Inn

While the advent of the railways widened the horizons of many a ‘commercial traveller’ (the term entered common usage around 1855), this Devonport hostelry was already known as the Commercial before the iron horse galloped this far west. In time each of the Three Towns had one or more hotels or inns called the Commercial as anxious landlords were keen to let the world know that they were happy to cater for these itinerant sales representatives or ‘travelling chapmen’ (the chap element in this context deriving from the medieval ‘cheap’ as in to buy – or buy and sell).

It would appear to have closed sometime around 1870; had it survived a little lomger it may have been tempting to keep it open, as the Devonport tram link would come to terminate just outside this Fore Street inn. The Commerical, incidentally, stood on the south side of the street, just a hundred yards or so from the Dockyard Gate


1812 - Thomas Smith
1822 - Thomas Butcher
1830 - John Simmonite
1838 - William Ruff
1844 - Priscilla Pascoe
1847 - Thomas Surcombe
1850 - Robert Marshall
1852 - William Howard
1857 - R Easton
1867 - William Rowe
1867 - William Thomas