On the Waterfront
ANNUAL SCHOOL, 22-24 June 2006
Introduction Programme Registration Travel information Useful Links



The Provisional programme below provides details of the speakers and their presentations. In addition to the presentations included in the programme, a number of Tours and Social Events are organised, including a Tour of the Royal William Yard, Annual Dinner at the  Orangery, Mount Edcumbe Country Park Optional Tours (as indicated below) and Boat trip around the Sound viewing the harbour up to the Tamar Bridge looking at the yards, fortifications and the ongoing redevelopment of the waterfront.

All presentations will take place in the Upper Lecture Theatre in the Sherwell Centre.

Thursday 22nd June

12:00 Registration

13:00 Royal William Yard Tour 1

15:00 Royal William Yard Tour 2

17:30 Dinner at University

19:00 Jeremy Gould - ‘An introduction to Plymouth’

Friday 23rd June

08:30 Registration

09:20 Steven Parissien, Chair - Building the University

09:30 Peter Beacham - English Heritage, Heritage Protection Director - Heritage Protection Reform

10:10 Peter Stewart former Director of Design Review CABE - New Design Sustains Historic Centres

10:50 Questions

11:00 Coffee

11:20 Fred Taggart Director, Prince’s Regeneration Trust - Heritage Led Regeneration - Community Based Projects

12:00 Jason Collard Managing Director Urban Splash - The Economics of Regeneration

12:40 Questions

12:50 Lunch

13:40 Nigel Grainge Nigel Grainge Architectural Services - Buildings in Context

14:20 Ray Green Totnes Heritage Trust - Sustaining Communities

14:50 Questions

15:00 Tea

15:20 David Gordon Chairman Somerset Trust for Sustainable Development - Great Bow Yard, Langport and other exemplars

15:50 David Baxter IHBC European Projects Director - Sustaining Heritage through International Co-operation - A Case Study Banffy Castle, Romania

16:20 Questions

16:30 End

17:00 IHBC AGM
(Download AGM papers)

18:30 Depart Sherwell Centre to walk to the Barbican Mayflower Steps

19:00 Boat departs to Mount Edgcumbe for Dinner, Boat will return from Mt Edgcumbe at 22:20

Saturday 24th June

09:30 John Yates - IHBC Chair

09:40 Jane Grenville English Heritage Commissioner - ‘Why do we bother?’

10:20 Andrew Pye Exeter City Council ‘Plymouth’s historic defences – a resource and a challenge’

11:00 Coffee

11:30 Jonathan Coad English Heritage - ‘The Naval Buildings of Devonport in a wider context, Conservation, Adaptation and Re-use.’

12:10 Peter Ford Manager, Design & Conservation, Plymouth City Council. - ‘A vision for the planned post-war city & historic areas of Plymouth’

12:50 Questions

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Tours

18:00 Waterfront Regeneration Tour by Boat, boat will depart from Pheonix Wharf, on the Barbican.

Annual School Ends following breakfast.


The Programme includes a tour of the Royal William Yard,

Royal William Victualling Yard Programmed Tour

 Built to replace an existing smaller yard in Sutton Harbour, the Royal William Yard was designed to allow the Royal Navy’s ship to be fully supplied from one large depot. The architect and engineer Sir John Rennie was engaged to design the complex and the location chosen was a limestone peninsula, close to the expanding Dockyard and Sound and accessible at all tides.

Rennie’s design was for a model factory and storage complex, capable of servicing all the Navy’s possible requirements from beer to rope. Construction on the 16-acre site began in 1825 and was completed by the mid 1830’s, using stone quarried form the levelled peninsula. Initially the Yard thrived, but its role gradually changed over the years, although it continued to be used throughout both wars.

The Navy finally withdrew in the early 1990’s and the Plymouth Development Corporation was set up and given the task of regenerating the complex. Many of the buildings were initially protected by Scheduling but are now Grade I listed. Subsequently the yard passed to English Partnerships and now the South West Rural Development Agency who have taken on its regeneration with Urban Splash and the architects Gilmore Hankey and Kirke, and Acanthus Ferguson and Mann. When completed, the Yard will provide a lively mix of residential and commercial opportunities.

In addition to the programmed tour of the Royal William Yard, delegates are invited to select to attend one of the following optional tours. (Please note places are limited and therefore allocated on a first come basis – places should be booked when registering to attend.)


Optional Tours, Saturday 24th June 2006 2:00 - 5:00

  A. South Yard, Devonport

This tour covers the southern and most historic part of Devonport’s Royal Naval Dockyard as well as part of the town itself. The tour will provide a rare opportunity to see a fascinating mix of historic buildings and structures, many still in use. Adjacent streets were annexed in the 20th century but are now being released for civilian re-use.

The historic buildings are mostly of limestone (one now a museum). They include plain but imposing roperies, pay office, spinning house, tarred yarn stores and a commemorative gazebo. Outstanding are two 18th century slipways with vast clear-span roofs (strutted gambrel) of early 19th century date. There are numerous fine incidental buildings and 20th century structures, and also the Devonport Market House (1852) with its elegant ironwork interior, which is part of the area now being released.

An instructive mix of architectural, historic, social and economic factors apply. These contribute to the wider consideration of sustainability issues, particularly on the “Devonport (town) side of the wall”.

  B. Sustainable Building Construction

This provides a truly ‘hands-on’ option. In particular, to understand the vernacular and tradition of earthen based (cob) wall construction. This is local to the southwest, but has counterparts elsewhere in Britain and the rest of the world! Besides the nature of cob itself (subsoil, straw and water), this is a reminder of how mass-wall structures behave. Ancient methods are being reassessed and show scope for adaptation to meet the needs of the 21st century and beyond.

Bring some old/protective outer clothing and footwear and (rubberised) gloves. This option needs dry weather and June is Plymouth’s driest month!

  C. Plymouth City Centre

This walking tour will concentrate on the city centre, largely rebuilt after World War II: the Abercrombie plan of wide streets, open spaces and a hierarchy of building groups.

Instructive examples of civic design and good building of the middle 20th century will be seen including churches, banks, the Civic Centre, commercial and market buildings, but also older components including St Andrew’s Church, the Guildhall and other earlier survivors. Master planning, layout, building design, landscape works, traffic management and further redevelopment are all here: insights into past and current approaches towards the conservation, change and sustainability of Plymouth’s city centre.

  D. East End and Barbican

This tour includes Sutton Harbour and the adjacent Barbican. This natural harbour was where Plymouth began to develop as a small fishing and trading port during the 13th and 14th centuries. As the town gained importance (16th - 17th centuries) it expanded in all directions, beyond the town’s defences. The Barbican largely escaped destruction during World War II and is now Plymouth’s most overtly historic area with a lively mix of uses. This tour combines some fine waterfront views, historic streets and buildings from five centuries up to the present day. There are survivals of domestic, commercial, maritime and defensive buildings, including warehouses, merchants’ houses, taverns, the Old Custom House and the New Custom House of 1810. The recent National Marine Aquarium and Fish Market lie on the opposite side of the harbour.

The East End, although often overlooked, has always been the more commercial part of the city. The land was shaped by large scale quarrying through the 18th – 20th centuries, and in one instance the quarrying exposed caves containing human remains dating back to the last Ice Age. Although now undergoing a large-scale regeneration, the area retains many links to it’s past including the China House, part of the complex built by William Cookworthy in 1768 to house his porcelain manufacturing business.

Sutton Harbour and the East End include a thriving marina, and are the focus of continuing conservation, adaptation and dramatic development proposals already afoot, including major residential schemes.

This tour provides a rich, even provocative, mix.

  E. Royal Citadel and Smeaton's Tower

Enclosed by massive limestone walls with an outstanding entrance portal (1670), the Citadel was begun in 1666 (Charles II) as the military HQ for Plymouth and to guard the harbour entrance. Although now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, it is still in use and incorporates an array listed of limestone buildings including Governor’s House (late 17th century), guardroom, stores, accommodation block, chapel, Sergeants’ Mess and Officers’ Mess - all noteworthy. This enclosed complex is a key part of Plymouth’s military and civil history, but is likely to need new uses fairly soon.

Grade I listed Smeaton’s Tower stands nearby on Plymouth Hoe (where Drake played bowls). This is Smeaton’s pioneering triumph: the granite Eddystone Lighthouse (1756-9) re-erected here in the 1880ѕ. The building was recently restored with substantial HLF and EH funding. It can be examined from inside and out (fine view!) and is a good subject for discussion of conservation issues.

  F. Mount Edgcumbe Country Park

This Grade I Registered Park and Garden covers a large area and is jointly owned by Plymouth City Council and Cornwall County Council. It can be reached via a foot ferry from Stonehouse, Plymouth and the South West Coastal Path runs through the estate. The house itself is relatively new having been rebuilt since World War II, but the gardens contain a fascinating mix of protected grotto’s, follies, statues, garden buildings, chapels and defensive structures amongst some beautiful themed planting.

This tour will provide a fascinating insight into the family who laid out this historic park and it and the changes that it has gone through, whilst allowing glimpses of the city from a more unusual angle. There are now many plans for the parks future, addressing a wide range of issues including coastal erosion.