View looking down on Notte Street, Plymouth with brick church in foreground.
About this image
Roman Catholic Church of Christ the King, Armada Way/Notte Street, Plymouth, Devon. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott Son and Partners, 1960-62 © Historic England. DP086445. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams
Roman Catholic Church of Christ the King, Armada Way/Notte Street, Plymouth, Devon. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott Son and Partners, 1960-62 © Historic England. DP086445. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams

Plymouth's Post-War City Centre Gets Conservation Area Protection

This week we were delighted to learn that Plymouth City Council have designated the post-war city centre as a conservation area. We have long championed the city’s mid-century heritage as something that is unique and of the highest quality.

To celebrate, we’ve chosen to share ten of the most captivating 20th-century buildings in Plymouth now enjoying an extra layer of heritage protection.

What Is a Conservation Area?

Plymouth City Centre joins over 10,000 greatly varied places in England with conservation area status. The city centre will now have broader protection as a conservation area than that afforded by the listing of individual buildings. 

More about conservation areas

1. Dingles department store (now House of Fraser)

The first buildings in Plymouth’s post-war reconstruction were banks, insurance companies and larger stores, who could access funds and secure building licences for scarce building materials. Dingles marks the entrance to Armada Way, and was by Thomas Tait who also designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons.

House of Fraser's Plymouth department store viewed from across the street.
House of Fraser (formerly Dingles) on the Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon © Historic England. DP086630. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams

2. Norwich Union House, St Andrew's Cross

Norwich Union House is a building with classical roots but a modernist style – soon to be the recipient of significant investment by British Land.

Norwich Union House and pedestrians in the background/top half and a traffic island with daffodils and water feature in the foreground/lower half.
Norwich Union House, St Andrews Cross, Plymouth, Devon © Historic England. DP069429. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams

3. Former Barclays bank, Notte Street

The most overtly classical building in the post-war rebuild, the former Barclays Bank includes carved stone figures of Sir Francis Drake and a Blitz fireman. The upper two floors of the building were never completed.

Former Barclays Bank building against a blue sky. On the street in the foreground are just a few cars and
Former Barclays Bank, Notte Street, Plymouth, Devon © Historic England. DP086672. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams
Sculpted figure of a Blitz fireman on former Barclays Bank, Notte Street, Plymouth, Devon
© Historic England. DP086671. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams

4. The Athenaeum Club

A delicate miniature of London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Athenaeum Club uses an innovative steel frame to span the auditorium.

Athenaeum Club
Athenaeum, Derrys Cross, Plymouth, Devon © Historic England. DP086703. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams

5. Plymouth Market

The former Pannier Market is a cathedral-like great hall with concrete vaults and fine details. It's the only major building in the city centre to be designed by local architects. Kevin McCloud has called it his favourite building!

6. Lloyds bank and Popham’s department store

A little bit of pure Americana in Devon! Beautiful carved seahorses and dolphins on the attic storey are the work of local sculptor Amyas Munday.

Empty paved area with one pedestrian in foreground. Cars and pedestrians go about their business on the far side of Royal Parade in front of the Lloyds Bank building.
LLoyds Bank, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon © Historic England. DP086621. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams
Sculpted dolphins mounted on a stone wall of Lloyds Bank, Plymouth
Sculpture of dolphins by Amyas Munday © Historic England. DP086625. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams

7. Former Dolcis shoe shop, New George Street

At night the stylish interior was lit up to be visible from the street. Its coloured panels and tulip pendant lights gave Plymothians their first glimpse of contemporary Festival of Britain style.

Line of shops includes Thomson, Thorntons and Miss Selfridge. Foreground features municipal flower display.
New George Street Shops, Plymouth, Devon © Historic England. DP086810. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams

8. 15-17 New George Street

Red-brick and framed-out windows and a Bauhaus-style roof terrace.

McDonald's and O2 premises on ground floor of a three storey red-brick building with framed-out windows and a Bauhaus-style roof terrace.
New George Street, Plymouth, Devon © Historic England. DP086814. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams

9. Former Western Morning News building

The only pre-war building on New George Street, it survived the Blitz because overnight newspaper staff could kick the incendiary bombs off the roof.

Former Western Morning News building, New George Street, Plymouth © Historic England

10. The Civic Centre

Standing as a landmark within the city centre the Civic Centre embodies the hope and aspirations of a newly confident City Council following the devastation of the Second World War. This building is a striking testimony to the spirit which guided the rebuilding of the city. Nowhere is this better reflected than in the Council House with its collection of artworks of rare quality and cohesion themed around Plymouth's history.

Civic Centre photographed from ground level looking up, with a couple of pedestrians and cars in the foreground.
Civic Centre, Plymouth, Devon © Historic England. DP069411. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams
Open paved area and water pool beneath the Civic Centre.
Civic Centre, Plymouth, Devon © Historic England. DP086610. Photographed 2009 by Peter Williams
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