Work begins on historic landmark building

Jun 21, 2019

The restoration and reinterpretation of Plymouth’s historic Elizabethan House moves into an exciting phase next week when building work begins in earnest.

Led by Plymouth City Council, with additional funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, the Coastal Revival Fund and The Pilgrim’s Trust, it’s one of the key legacy projects for the city’s Mayflower 400 commemorations.

The house was saved from demolition after campaigning by then local MP Nancy Astor and opened in 1930 as a visitor attraction. It closed in 2015 for the essential restoration and re-interpretation works that will bring it back to life ready to re-open in 2020. The date of first recorded occupant is 1631 and the last recorded resident relinquished their deeds in 1929.

Next week, the first physical sign of the work will be the creation of a temporary site compound in the seating area at the end of New Street.


 The compound will feature a small hoardings scheme which will display information about the history of the house. Once building work is complete and the hoardings are down the seating will be reinstated and refreshed.

Scaffolding will be installed to the front of the building in July. Repair work to the external structure and oak timbers will then be carried out from August.

Inside the house, a programme of works to clean, strengthen the floors and undertake an assessment for the foundations of a new extension will be carried out over the summer.

Once these are complete further structural and repair work will continue throughout the autumn/winter and into next spring. Construction work for the extension will also take place. A small, two-storey addition to the original building, it will house storage space, a staff kitchen and toilets.

Councillor Peter Smith, Deputy Leader said: “Following all the investigative works that have taken place at the house it’s great to be moving forward with the next phase of our ambitious plans for the Elizabethan House.

“The property has stood largely unaltered for more than four centuries and is a real gem that we’re working hard to preserve for future generations. As well as being a witness to some significant periods in Plymouth’s history it has a fascinating history of its own. We’ll be bringing this to life through new interpretation once the building work has finished.”

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