Recruiting Sergeant

At the dawn of the nineteenth century a number of Plymouth streets were renamed in an attempt to rid them of the tarnished reputations they had acquired. Kinterbury Street, once an important thoroughfare, had, like many others, become run down and overpopulated. Originally running parallel to, and west of, Old Town Street, it was renamed Colmer’s Lane, albeit only briefly.

Meanwhile, located within the street, at that time, was the Recruiting Sergeant. A number of similarly named pubs sprang all around the country, thanks to the practice of touring servicemen sitting in pubs and taverns and trying to persuade men to sign up for the army by accepting the King’s shilling (often by deviously slipping a shilling into their pints). A contemporary in Devonport was the Recruiting Officer Inn (later the London and South Western Railway Hotel). Incidentally glass-bottomed pewter tankards were later introduced to try and curb this insidious practice.


1823 - William Haddy