Ben Venue, Middle Warberry Road, and Lemon Tree Cottage, Sutherland Road
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
- Statutory Address:
- Ben Venue, Middle Warberry Road, and Lemon Tree Cottage, Sutherland Road
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- Statutory Address:
- Ben Venue, Middle Warberry Road, and Lemon Tree Cottage, Sutherland Road
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Torbay (Unitary Authority)
- Non Civil Parish
- National Grid Reference:
Ben Venue, a villa built in 1858, with alterations of 1908 by E H Harbottle, and later additions and alterations.
Reasons for Designation
Ben Venue, a villa built in 1858, with alterations of 1908 by E H Harbottle, and later additions and alterations, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
*Architectural: for its striking design, showing Italianate influence, with tall elaborate stacks, and bow windows of unusual form; *Historical: as part of the mid-C19 development by the Palk estate of fashionable villas on Torquay’s Warberry Hill; *Interior: for the surviving layout and decoration of the principal part of the house, with ornate plasterwork and chimneypieces to the principal rooms, and original doors, as well as an imposing stair of 1908; *Group value: with other listed villas of similar date on Warberry Hill, and with the Classical garden pavilion to the north-west which formerly stood within the garden of Ben Venue.
The house known as Ben Venue was built in 1858, forming part of an extensive development of villas of the Palk estate, built on the south-facing slope of Warberry Hill, between 1838 and the 1860s.
Alterations were made to the house in 1908 by the architect Edward Hall Harbottle of Exeter; these included the remodelling of the principal stair, the construction of the square bay window to the north-west elevation, and the addition of a canted bay containing WCs to the south-east. An existing extension at the south-east end of the service wing was enlarged to provide additional kitchen offices and a servants’ bathroom and bedroom; this entire extension has now gone. Plans surviving from the 1908 phase of alterations give an indication of the probable original form of the house, and the original room uses. The main part of the former service wing to the rear of the main house has been through extensive alterations. The ground-floor rooms, originally kitchen and other offices, have been converted to garage and utility use, and living accommodation: the kitchen remains in its original position, though now combined with the former servants’ hall. The easternmost part, flanking Sutherland Road, was originally open at ground-floor level, allowing access to the stables standing to the south-east; this part received an extension to the north some time between 1908 and 1933. The ground-floor of this part of the building is now enclosed and has been converted for living accommodation; the eastern area of the service wing at first-floor level has been converted to a discrete flat, now known as Lemon Tree Cottage.
A Classical garden pavilion (listed at Grade II) which historically stood to the north-west within the Ben Venue’s original two and half acre grounds, is now within the garden of the neighbouring late-C20 house.
Villa, built in 1858, with alterations of 1908 by E H Harbottle, and later additions and alterations.
MATERIALS: stone, faced with stucco. The building has low hipped slated roofs; the wide flat eaves on a block modillion cornice continue round the whole of the building. The stacks to the main house have bracketed cornices, with recessed panels, and project at full height on the exterior of the building; those to the former service wing are simpler, with stepped cornices or band cornices. The majority of the original unhorned sash window frames with horizontal glazing bars remain.
PLAN: the main part of the house is roughly square on plan, with a large service wing which extends north-eastwards from the centre of the north-east elevation, and south-eastwards from the eastern end of the south-eastern elevation. At the eastern end of the building, abutting and following the roughly north/south line of this stretch of Sutherland Road, a former carriageway originally ran beneath the oversailing first-floor of the service wing; this is now enclosed and incorporated into the building. At the north end of this section is a small extension dating from between 1908 and 1933. The conservatory* extending from the south-west corner of the building is a late-C20 replacement of the original, and is not of special interest. The terrace* to the south-west of the house is a C20 addition and is not of special interest.
EXTERIOR: the building overall is of two storeys, with rusticated quoins and an eaves band. The front elevation of the main house, facing south-west, has two shallow gables above slightly projecting bays. To the ground floor are prominent bow windows with full-length sash frames and broad dividing strips, approached by three semi-circular steps; the bow windows have balustraded parapets above a dentil course, providing balconies for the first-floor rooms. These first-floor rooms have tripartite sash windows. On the north-west elevation there is a square full-height bay window to the left, added in 1908. The entrance to the building is in a single-storey canted projecting porch, placed between the main part of the house and the eastern service range; the porch has a balustrade parapet. The entrance is flanked by panelled pilasters rising to console brackets below a segmental pediment; the original six-panelled double doors remain. Above the porch, in the main part of the house, is a tall arched window, lighting the main landing. On the south-east elevation of the main house is a full-height bow window, with a door opening and two windows to the ground floor; the original door, which is curved in line with the bay, and glazed, with marginal lights, originally led directly from the hall into the conservatory. Above, a tall tripartite window follows the curve of the bay. Further to the east is an arched window at first-floor level, lighting the stair. On this elevation, the windows have multi-pane sashes, rather than those with horizontal glazing bars used elsewhere. The canted bay of 1908 with a single narrow window to each storey sits between the south-east elevation and the south-west return of the former service wing.
Within the former service wing, the north-west elevation has three windows above a wide garage opening to the ground floor, partially framed by the outer surrounds of the two windows which originally lit the pantry, now replaced by the garage. Further to the east is a gabled projecting section, with another garage door, similarly framed by a residual window frame – this window originally lit the butler’s room. Above, is a triplet of arched windows with keystones. Further east again is the early-C20 extension to the easternmost part of the former service wing, the wide carriage arch now filled by glazed doors; there is a window above, and one to the south-western return wall. The eastern elevation of the building, fronting Sutherland Road, is of a single storey, with three tall rendered stepped stacks, the northernmost one (belonging to the early-C20 extension) having recessed panels. Each stack projects slightly from the plane of the elevation with a window above; a fourth projection indicates the position of another stack, now removed. The elevation has two windows; the northern window is in the position of the original doorway, a new door opening having been made further north. The south-eastern elevation has a single window to the east; a blocked window further south probably relates to the removal of the 1908 extension. The south-west elevation of the former service wing has a ground-floor door opening flanked by narrow windows, with a tripartite window above.
INTERIOR: the main doorway leads to an entrance lobby, from which a glazed screen with a door opens on to the square stair hall, which has a modillion cornice, a dado rail with a Greek key pattern, and a parquet floor. Opening from the hall are the principal rooms, their doorcases having cornices above pulvinated friezes in C18 style. To the south-west are the drawing room to the south (originally the dining room), and the billiard room to the north (originally the drawing room), each lit by one of the bow windows, with its original shutters. The drawing room has a marble chimneypiece with acanthus console brackets to the jambs and bay branches to the frieze. The room’s cornice has scrolled acanthus above an egg and dart moulding, and an elaborate ceiling rose; there is also a moulded dado rail. There are C20 doors in an original opening leading to the conservatory. A C20 door opening connects the drawing room and billiard room. The billiard room has a chimneypiece of grey marble with detached columns; this has an original register grate with a warming grate. The cornice is decorated with lilies, and the dado rail is enriched with a Greek key pattern. The study, to the north of the stair hall, is lit by the square bay window; the timber chimneypiece appears to be C18, the gesso decoration having a central musical motif. The vine decoration to the cornice suggests that this may originally have been the dining room. To the north-east of the stair hall is a C20 WC, in place of what was originally a passage giving access from the service wing; the door frame is also C20. In the north-east corner, a chamfered archway leads to what was originally the cloakroom. The 1908 stair is of asymmetrical Imperial form, with a central flight rising south-eastwards from the centre of the hall to a half landing, and then continuing in two flights, with a right-angled flight leading towards the former service wing, and a second flight returning north-westwards towards the main landing. The stair is of oak, in a loosely Jacobean style, with elaborately carved starter newels; there is scrolled carving to the open string, and slender turned balusters support a broad rail, ramped towards the newels. Beneath the stair, oak small square panelling encloses the approach to the cellar, entered through double doors. The arched windows lighting the landings have panelled recesses. The original acanthus cornice to the upper ceiling survives; the doorways to the bedrooms retain their moulded surrounds. All the bedrooms have moulded cornices. The southern bedroom has a C20 chimneypiece in neoclassical style; the other bedrooms no longer have fireplaces. Each bedroom has partitioning, creating a bathroom, installed in the mid to late C20. Throughout the main part of the house, the original panelled doors remain, with original brass door furniture. The cellar has been partly converted for domestic use, but brick wine bins with slate shelves remain.
The interior of the former service wing has undergone much change and reconfiguration, and few historic features remain. At ground-floor level the former pantry to the north-east is now a garage. Beyond this to the north-east is the area formerly occupied by the butler’s room, of which the north-east wall was subsequently removed, merging the room with the former carriageway to create a large garage; this wall has now been reinstated and the room is now a small garage. The kitchen to the south is formed of the former kitchen and servants’ hall. In the easternmost part of the building, the former carriageway is now enclosed; within the glazed doors to the north, an iron hinge bracket remains to the east at the upper part of the opening. The decoration of this space is otherwise entirely modern. The former servants’ stair running between ground and first floor, which was placed near the centre of the service wing, has been removed. On the first floor, the south-western section, which originally provided family bedrooms, partially retains its plan, despite the removal of the corridor and rearrangement of bathrooms. The north-eastern part – including the early-C20 northern extension – which originally provided servants’ bedrooms and a box room, now contains the flat known as Lemon Tree Cottage*. The interior of Lemon Tree Cottage, which has been much altered, including the repositioning of the entrance, and other changes to the plan, does not retain historic features, and is excluded from the listing.
*Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act of 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 14/11/2018
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Warberries Conservation Area Character Appraisal, 2002, revised 2006
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing
Images of England
Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.