Restoration work has now commenced on 1 Church Lane, a small but distinguished Grade II Listed house of neo-Grecian style built c. 1825 and plausibly attributed to Foulston (i.e John Foulston, 1772 – 1841), a well-known English architect who was undertaking other work in Tavistock at around that time for the Duke of Bedford and designed many iconic buildings in Plymouth and throughout the south west region. 1 Church Lane occupies a prominent location next to St Eustachius' Parish Church. This will be the first privately owned building of historic and architectural merit to undergo conservation work as part of the Tavistock Townscape Heritage Initiative (TTHI), which benefits from a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of nearly £1 million.

Alex Mettler, Chairman of Tavistock and District Local History Society and a member of the Tavistock Heritage partnership said that ‘ it was immensely satisfying to see that this wonderful Georgian period building is now being restored and would soon once more be a real asset within the Tavistock townscape’

The TTHI is a regeneration programme involving the restoration of public and privately-owned buildings of historic merit, the enhancement of specific public realm areas, and complementary activities to raise awareness of the town’s heritage and promote the use of traditional conservation skills. It was established following eight years hard work by a partnership of local Councils, businesses and community groups, co-ordinated by Tavistock Heritage with the Town Council as the accountable body. The TTHI is also supported financially by Tavistock Town Council, West Devon Borough Council, Devon County Council, the Greater Dartmoor LEAF and private property owners.

The TTHI scheme for 1 Church Lane has been prepared by Le Page Architects, specialists in conservation schemes for historic buildings, who have recently supervised the repairs carried out on the Butchers’ Hall adjacent to the Pannier Market. It will involve a mixture of architectural reinstatement and repairs to the external ‘envelope’ of the building to make it structurally sound and weatherproof.

The main contractor for the project is Obedair, based in Plymouth and Carl Heslop, Managing Director commented that ‘Obedair are extremely proud to be involved with such a historic building so prominent in Tavistock. We look forward to restoring it to its former glory and working closely with everyone within the Tavistock Community.’’

The range of work includes structural repairs to roof timbers, repairs to parapet walls and gutters, removal of a modern chimney, renewing the slates, and refurbishment of rainwater gutters and downpipes. The limited discharge of rainwater from the front parapet gutter, which has resulted in consequent structural damage to the front elevation, will be addressed by the provision of two additional internal rainwater pipes. All windows and external doors are to be restored, including the reinstatement of windows where openings have been blocked up. The existing lime mortar render will be sensitively cleaned off and defective areas hacked off and reinstated using a mix that closely matches the original as determined by laboratory analysis. Any repointing work will also be carried out using appropriate lime render mortar.

Simon Crosbie and Damon Pearce, Directors of Le Page Architects said “we are immensely proud to be again involved in a TTHI scheme that will restore and ultimately save this precious fabric of the town. The building has lots of challenges due to its condition, but we are confident the highly experienced team will overcome them “

One of the principal aims of the TTHI is to bring vacant floor space back into productive use and following completion of the enveloping works it is the intention for the restored building to be let for commercial purposes. It is anticipated that the restoration works will take approximately 20 weeks to be completed.

The Mayor, Councillor Mrs Mandy Ewings said:

‘I am delighted that restoration work is going to be carried out on a much loved and prominent building in the centre of Tavistock. For too long it has looked neglected and unkempt. The work which is going to be carried out will restore the outside of the building to its former glory.’
Martin Searle, THI Project Manager said:
‘‘I am delighted to see that work has now started on this handsome and iconic building which occupies a prominent location adjacent to St Eustachius’ Church and the well-used pedestrian thoroughfare linking Plymouth Road with the shops and other businesses in and around West Street, Market Street and King Street.’

Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk @heritagelottery

Martin Searle, Project Manager, Tavistock Townscape Heritage Initiative, Town Council Offices, Drake Road, Tavistock, Devon. PL19 0AU
E Mail: martin.searle@tavistock.gov.uk Tel: (01822) 616134 or 07535 133414

Please go to Townscape Heritage Initiative for more information.

1 Church Lane