Devon Historic Buildings Trust Building Conservation Awards 2017


The Devon Historic Buildings Trust held the awards ceremony for the 2017 entries at Ugbrooke Park, Chudleigh in October where the awards were presented by the trust’s Patron, Lady Clifford.


Those involved with the shortlisted projects attended a reception prior to the awards and each winner received a plaque to apply to the winning building and a certificate. A certificate of commendation was also presented up the runner up in each category.

A special commendation was also presented this year in category A.

The aim of the bi-annual Awards is to encourage all those who work with historic buildings, whether they are Listed or of importance in a townscape or landscape, by acknowledging their best conservation practice and good design. A broad range of projects from across the County were assessed and those shortlisted were visited by the assessors. Every project within each category was judged on its own merits, and every type of built environment was eligible to apply regardless of size, type or budget.


The five winners are:

Category A – repairs to an historic building or structure

Winner – Staddons House, Walkhampton owned by Dr and Mrs Edwards

Category A photo

Design team:

Architect:                        Living Space Architects

Structural Engineer:    Ballantine Arnold

Archaeologist:               Oakford Archaeology

Contractor:                     R and M Contractors


Grade I Listed Staddon House & Cottage were once a single high status mediaeval hall house evidenced by a hooded granite fireplace and a fragment of a mediaeval roof truss. The properties when purchased were in a state of disrepair, with rotting windows and excessively damp walls, floors and roof. The brief was to re-unite the two properties into one dwelling without compromising the historic fabric or significant historic elements of the property. The design approach was to reveal and re-instate significant historic features of the property, such as the medieval fireplace and newel stairs, whilst introducing some new contemporary interventions to enhance and contrast with them. The design intention was to leave a level of patina on the existing structure and to avoid sanitising the existing fabric, retaining the sense of place.

Assessors comments:

The assessors recognised the exemplary way the house had been restored.  It was obvious that this had been a team project between the designers, the contractor and the client with much enthusiasm on all parts including the archaeologist.

Category B – restoration of an historic building or structure

Winner – 9 High Street, Torrington owned by Ms Wafforne

Category B photo

Design Team:

Surveyor:                        Building conservation Services – Sam Percival

Structural engineer:    Brody Forbes – Graham Gilham

Contractor:                     Mike Steer

Joiner:                              Dave Belgrave

Description of the project:

This project began with a telephone call from the owner seeking advice; their decorator had reported that the external gable was dangerously unstable and concealed an unusual wooden frame suffering from decay. Following consultation with the Conservation Officer it was agreed that the later lath and render should be removed and the 17th century front restored.  An early 20th century photograph showed the last time the screen had been seen before being covered up. It was agreed that best method was to remove the panelling to the workshop to enable the joiner full access to the screen.  To retain as much of the original fabric as possible, a new A frame truss concealed within the roof space behind the screen thus reducing the load.

Assessors comments:

The careful, well researched restoration of this frontage has not only reinstated an historic frontage to the public eye but has also enlivened this important streetscape.

Category C – new build structure in an historic setting including an AOB or Conservation Area

Winner – Coombe Court, Moretonhampstead owned by Mr and Mrs Hilditch

Category C photo (2)

Design Team:

Architect:                                     Van der Steen Hall

Quantity Surveyor:                  Jenkins Hansford Partnership

Structural Engineer:                 Brody Forbs

Ecologist:                                      George Bemment Associates

Archaeologist:                            Oakford Archaeology

Contractor:                                  Character Builders (SW) Ltd

Conservator – woodwork:    Hunt & Lomas

Conservator – plaster:            J. J. Sharpe

Description of the project:

Coombe Court has at its heart a 17th century longhouse.  Mid 19thC re-planning and alterations removed much of the form of the original house including the shippen end. Subsequently a range of stone and brick working buildings were added and the house had further insertions and inappropriate layers of improvements of mixed styles and extensions.  The brief was to bring the house back into family use reinstating its historic pattern and quality.  New works include the reinterpretation of the entrance with a strong glass, steel and oak ‘cross passage’.  The removal of the sunroom gave way to the slate, stone and glass kitchen wing on the footprint of the former farm buildings. The demolition of a lean-to enabled the construction of the loggia link from the kitchen to the hall and the removal of two existing single and two storey infill buildings allowed the creation of the south infill wing.

Assessors comments:

The assessors were impressed with the contemporary solution developing an historic farm complex using both traditional materials and 21st century design in a sympathetic way.

Category D – regeneration of an historic building or structure, or the regeneration of buildings in a group

Winner – Ocean Studio, Factory Cooperage, Royal William Yard, Plymouth owned by Urban Splash

Category D photo

Design team:

Architect                                      Gillespie Yunnie Architects

Project Manager:                     Ward Williams

Structural Engineer:                 Jubb

Contractor:                                  Ease Manage

Description of the project:

Ocean Studios, housed within one of the last unconverted Grade I Listed buildings in the Yard was designed for making barrels to house Royal Navy Fleet provisions. Laterally, a Navy store until their departure in the 1990’s, it lay empty and posed a challenge for development due to the long narrow plan, and the lack of windows on the outer walls. Once, a fully open colonnade ran around the courtyard to house the barrel making, however most was infilled with masonry during WWII, and these areas were chosen to house the wide range of workshops. The decision to enclose the remaining area to form gallery space was not taken lightly, and a full width glass screen wall inserted, inside the line of the cast iron columns, allows the open feel of the space to be maintained. The patina from years of neglect was retained giving a ‘raw’ and unpolished historic finish.

Assessors comments:

The assessors were delighted by the minimalist approach which had been taken by the design team and were very impressed by the non- intervention allowing the Grade I building to speak for itself.

Special commendation in Category A

Dutch House, Topsham, Exeter owned by Mr & Mrs C Watson

Special commendation photo

Awarded to McNeilage Conservation for their work on the restoration of a fireplace at The Dutch House which is a late 17thC and is a Listed Grade II*.

Assessors comments:

A very careful and considered restoration. The assessors have, in this instance decided to recognise this unusual restoration; conservation at its best. Further, as noted in the submission, the restoration has given archaeologists evidence of the nature of the architectural decoration in these important buildings.