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Sundial Lodge

A Grade II Listed Building in Wellswood, Torbay

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Latitude: 50.4586 / 50°27'30"N

Longitude: -3.5184 / 3°31'6"W

OS Eastings: 292310

OS Northings: 63182

OS Grid: SX923631

Mapcode National: GBR QX.3FML

Mapcode Global: FRA 37JV.138

Plus Code: 9C2RFF5J+CJ

Entry Name: Sundial Lodge

Listing Date: 26 October 1973

Last Amended: 8 May 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1292095

English Heritage Legacy ID: 390750

Location: Wellswood, Torbay, TQ1

County: Torbay

Electoral Ward/Division: Wellswood

Built-Up Area: Torquay

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Torquay St Matthias

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Formerly two mid-C19 villas in an Italianate style, partially extended in the late C19, further subdivided in the early C20 and converted into a care home for the elderly in the late C20.


PLAN: formerly a pair of semi-detached ā€˜L'-shaped plan villas, later joined at the rear to include the two former coach houses creating a central courtyard, on a south-east to north-west alignment

MATERIALS: cement rendered with painted and stucco dressings; a slate roof and stacks with rendered shafts

EXTERIOR: a two-storey building with three-storey towers. The front (south) elevation is symmetrical. There are three central bays. The ground floor consists of a central modern glass extension. On either side the windows have been replaced by C20 small-pane bay windows, both of which are topped by balustrades. The first floor has a central sundial which is flanked by eight-over-eight sash windows. The central bays are flanked by square towers, with hipped roofs, on either end. These are decorated with pilasters (which are rusticated on the ground and first floors) and a second-floor plat band. The ground-floor window on the right tower has a tripartite sash with a cornice supported by consoles, while the ground floor window to the left-hand tower has been replaced with a small-pane C20 bay. The first-floor windows on both towers are two-light four-over-four sashes with cornices and shutters. The second-floor windows have two round-headed lights, glazed with small-pane casements, with moulded spandrels. All of the upper-floor windows on the front elevation have external shutters. The towers are flanked by a lean-to at either end. The right one has four round-headed lights, glazed with small panes, and topped by a pediment; the left has a C20 small-pane window. The east elevation is six bays with asymmetrical fenestration. A number of the C19 sash windows remain, particularly on the upper floors, while some C20 casements have been inserted on the ground floor. Many of the windows appear to be in their original openings, some of which are decorated either by flat cornices or cornices supported by scroll consoles. This elevation also contains the main porch with a round-headed doorway and parapet. The entrance retains the original large two-panel door with door furniture including a brass lion-head door knocker. The rear of the building primarily consists of the former coach houses, now attached to the main house. The buildings have been converted into living accommodation which has involved extensive late-C20 modifications to the exteriors and interiors. The west elevation has five bays. This elevation has been subject to extensive mid-C20 alterations, including the rebuilding of two of the central bays with a two storey curved bay with multi-pane glazing and a similar polygonal two-storey bay. There are two sash windows on this elevation; however, most of the windows are C20 replacements , including the windows in this side of the corner tower. The infill extensions within the interior courtyard are of various phases dating from the second half of the C20. The roof is a number of phases of hipped slate sections and some more recent flat roof additions.

INTERIOR: the main entrance is within the porch on the east side of the building. The inner door is C20. The hallway retains many original fixtures including an arch supported by scroll consoles. The stair way is original as is the handrail; the metal balustrade consists of C20 replacements. There is an elaborately-carved timber door against one of hall walls which is a recently imported feature. A central axial corridor connects the east and west ends. The central ground-floor front room is a communal lounge which was originally two separate rooms with a party wall which has been knocked through to create a single space. The new opening is supported by decorative pillars. The room contains original decorative coving and plasterwork. A fireproof layer has been inserted beneath the original ceiling (this has happened in other rooms on each of the floors).The fireplaces in the lounge are late-C20 additions as is the plasterwork above the light fittings finals and the dado rail. The left side of the building was altered internally in the 1930s when it was still a separate dwelling. The timber panel staircase appears to date from this period as do other features in this side of the building. Most of the original plaster cornicing which survives is within the rooms in the front half of the house. Most of the internal fireplaces are modern additions; however, at least one original stone Gothic-arched fireplace survives in the bedroom on the ground floor of the left tower. Another bedroom in the central range at the front of the house is unusual as it retains the original internal shutters. There are some six-panel doors which are believed to be original, although a number of the six- and four-panel doors are believed to have been added as part of the late-C20 alterations. The corridors contain some modern fireproof glazed partition screens, and modern services, including a lift, have been added. Most of the bedrooms contain inserted partition walls to create separate bathrooms and kitchens.


Sundial Lodge was originally built as a pair of mid-C19 semi-detached villas. On 29 September 1841 a lease was granted for the construction of a building called Engadine. The 1842 Tithe map shows there was an ā€˜Lā€™ shaped building, with the front long range on an east to west alignment, on this site. The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1862) shows a building, also known as Engadine, with a very different plan as a pair of semi-detached villas on a south-east to north-west alignment with a separate pair of semi-detached coach houses to the rear, all set in extensive grounds with separate drive ways. Between 1876 and 1880 the property was leased to Princess Beatrice; it is unclear if she took possession of the whole building or just one of the villas. By 1893 the whole building was in use as the Engadine Preparatory School. By the Second Edition OS Map (1906) the building was shown to once again be semi-detached villas. Very little of the plan had changed since the 1860s, with the exception of an extension to the rear of the north-east villa. In 1906 plans were drawn up by Johnson and Webber to divide the building into three dwellings, with a third villa in the central range. The date that this work was carried out is unknown. The three villa arrangement is first shown on the 1933 OS Map, by which point other small-scale extensions had been added. By 1953 the rear coach houses had been amalgamated into the main buildings creating an internal courtyard which was also subject to some infill extensions. In the mid-C20 a number of alterations were made to the building. The south-west elevation was partially rebuilt with the addition of one rounded and one angled bay. The north-east side was in use as a hotel and later a guest house. By 1960 there were still three villas, called Beaufort Lodge (north), Sundial House (centre) and South Bank (south). In the 1980s the three buildings were joined together and converted into a care home for the elderly. The conversion primarily involved internal rearrangements with changes to the uses of most of the rooms, knocking through former party walls for access, alterations to the decoration and the insertion of internal division within most of the bedrooms to create separate bathrooms and kitchen units. A number of these partitions are not full height. In the late-C20 there have also been extensions within the courtyard. The most extensive new building work has occurred within the former grounds with the conversion and extension of the former outbuildings to the north and the development of Oak Ridge, a modern two-storey housing unit built within the ground of Sundial Lodge to the west.

Reasons for Listing

Sundial Lodge, a former pair of mid-C19 Italianate villas, Torquay is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it retains key aspects of its original Italianate design, including the prominent square towers and stucco detailing;
* Historic interest: as mid-C19 suburban villa expansion it exemplifies the popularity of Torquay as a Victorian seaside resort;
* Legibility: despite external and internal alterations, the plan of the original villas can still be understood in the surviving building fabric;
* Group value: as one of a number of listed villas of a similar date in the Park Hill area.

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