The Black Lion

At the top of Harbour Avenue, running north-east from North Quay, on the right-hand corner of its junction with Exeter Street, stood the Black Lion. In its day the Three Towns had a veritable pride of lions – Red, White, Golden and Black. There were two Red Lions, one in erstwhile Cambridge Street the other in Sthonehouse (it is one of the most common pub names in England and it is generally a reference to the heraldic arms of John of Gaunt), the White Lion still stands in Stonehouse, but currently as a café, there were two Golden Lions, in Fore Street, Devonport and Old Town Street (from the arms of Henry I or the Percys) and in Exeter Street – the Black Lion. Again this would appear to have its origins in heraldry – generally the arms of Edward III’s wife, Queen Phiippa of Hainault, from Flanders.

The site now is buried beneath the redevelopment and widening of Exeter Street, but it open as a pub until 23 December 1929 when it was closed and compensation was paid to its owners JR Wilson (Plymouth) Ltd, of Sawrey Street.


1850 - Richard Oldrey
1873 - William Whiddon
1905 - GT Wyatt
1910 - WR Thomas
1914 - Lewis Lidstone
1920 - James Thomas
1922 - William Yeo
1925 - Martha Buller