Half way up Cornwall Street, Devonport, or rather Plymouth Dock as it was when this pub was first open, stood the True Blue. One of the earliest residential thoroughfares in Plymouth Dock, Cornwall Street has been rebuilt several times, but it certainly wasn’t around in the middle ages when the phrase ‘true blue’ is thought to have been first coined. Originally it derived from the blue cloth produced by dyers in Coventry – as it didn’t fade with washing it became known as ‘true’ or ‘fast’.
Thus, according to John Ray in the first (1670) edition of A Compleat Collection of English Proverbs, ‘true blue became a Proverb to signifie one that was always the same and like himself’, as in steadfast, loyal and true! The exact qualities you would want from Soldiers and Sailors and thus a good name for pub in a services town.
1798 - William Coutts
1844 - George Hearn
1850 - John Matters
1852 - Peter Wills