Cash boost to celebrate and conserve post war architecture

Plans to protect and celebrate Plymouth’s amazing post-war architecture have been given a huge boost thanks to a grant of almost £2 million from Historic England.

Historic England has announced that Plymouth City Council has secured £1,994,638 for its High Street Heritage Action Zone improvements to the City Centre.

The funding will go towards a rejuvenation of the listed Civic Square - between the Guildhall and the Civic Centre - as well as on exciting engagement projects designed to get Plymouth people to fall in love with the city’s unique war time history and its post-war buildings and spaces.

Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Tudor Evans, said: “This news couldn’t come at a better time. We’re getting really excited about our plans with Urban Splash and the University to create something that will bring more people to the city centre. That project which is being submitted for Future High Street funding looks at rejuvenating buildings.

“This projects looks at the space between them and how we can encourage people to think again about what they may have perhaps taken for granted. Plymouth’s post-war buildings tell an extraordinary story of a city that rebuilt itself. Its history is in the stonework of all these buildings and they should be celebrated and talked about. We want people to look up, look at these incredible buildings with a fresh pair of eyes.

“The city centre was crucial to the city’s recovery then and it is now. It plays a key part in our Resurgam programme to meet the economic challenge that we now face.”

Last year a large part of the city centre was designated a conservation area with Royal Parade and Civic Square at its heart. It includes New George Street, Raleigh Street, Derry’s Cross, Athenaeum Lane, Notte Street and Old Town Street, St Andrews Cross and abuts the western boundary of the Barbican Conservation Area.

The area is an important part of Plymouth’s City Centre, which was rebuilt, following its destruction during World War Two, based on A Plan for Plymouth 1943 by Professor Patrick Abercrombie and James Paton Watson.

Within the conservation area are a number of Grade II listed buildings including Royal Bank of Scotland at St Andrew’s Cross, the Theatre Royal, Derry’s Clock Tower, the Bank Pub, the Council House and Civic Centre, Catharine Street Baptist Church, the former Barclay’s Bank and Unitarian Church.

The High Street Heritage Action Zone will include a community engagement programme led by The Box and POP+ who will offer a mixture of talks, tours and workshops which will look at the hidden heritage of the city and the stories from our streets with a number of local community groups.

Alongside opportunities to learn more about how civic planning has shaped the experience of the city today, the team will work with communities to create their own events and activities animating public spaces across the city.