View looking down on Notte Street, Plymouth with brick church in foreground.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

8. 15-17 New George Street

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

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.

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.

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