This film is part of Free

Union Street on a Saturday Night

Punters gather for a night out on Plymouth’s famed Union Street.

News 1966 4 mins Not rated

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Union Street in Plymouth is a night-time hotspot and the square mile boasts thirty pubs, two strip clubs and the redlight district with some fifteen to thirty prostitutes. The area is patrolled by the military and local police. Licensing laws push punters at pub closing time to carry on drinking in the night clubs. Punters include a mixture of locals, dockworkers and sailors from all around the world. Union Street is a firm favourite with British service personnel.

The street is the longest and straightest in Plymouth and was originally built in the first quarter of the nineteenth century by London architect John Foulston as part of the plan to connect the three towns of Plymouth, Devonport and East Stonehouse. Originally an affluent area, it soon became the hub for the city’s nightlife. In the 1930s surrounding streets were closed by police to keep servicemen and workers from the docks entering the city centre and by the 1960s the area was well-known for its adult entertainment as a go-go and at times, a no-go area. Today it is less popular at night and a conservation area. Regeneration is slowly bringing Union Street back to a life less dependent on the night-time economy.