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Old Cooperage, Royal William Victualling Yard

A Grade I Listed Building in Plymouth, City of Plymouth

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Latitude: 50.361 / 50°21'39"N

Longitude: -4.1659 / 4°9'57"W

OS Eastings: 246042

OS Northings: 53476

OS Grid: SX460534

Mapcode National: GBR R6G.9Z

Mapcode Global: FRA 2852.T0C

Plus Code: 9C2Q9R6M+CM

Entry Name: Old Cooperage, Royal William Victualling Yard

Listing Date: 13 August 1999

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1378536

English Heritage Legacy ID: 476486

ID on this website: 101378536

Location: Cremyll, Plymouth, Devon, PL1

County: City of Plymouth

Electoral Ward/Division: St Peter and the Waterfront

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Plymouth

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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SX 4653

Old Cooperage, Royal William Victualling Yard


Cooperage; converted to ordnance building (1891). c1826-32, by Sir John Rennie Jnr, for the Victualling Board, central yard roofed 1916, fitting shops added 19305 behind the front range. Limestone ashlar and rubble, axial and lateral stacks and slated iron hipped roofs; the central block has a fireproof iron internal frame. Late Georgian style.
PLAN: originally two concentric quadrangles, the central one square for the coopers, the outer one trapezoidal and divided on the N range by a gateway flanked by offices; W section staves seasoning store, E section iron hoop store, the other three ranges were for cask storage. Now connected by 19305 blocks to the N.
EXTERIOR: 2-storey; 8:4-window NE range; 6-window NW range, the other outer sides blind; 2-storey cooperage block; 7- and 11-window sides. External walls of outer quadrangle have a granite plinth, banded rustication to the ground floor to a plat band, a cornice and parapet, and rusticated quoins.
Principal NE elevation has 2 central pedimented 1-window pavilions, with segmental-arched ground-floor and flat-headed first-floor 12112-pane sashes, and 3-window inner side ranges as the front; they are linked by a central gateway with massive square piers of rock-faced banded ashlar with square caps and cast-iron lamp bases, and cast-iron gates to the central entrance and flanking wickets with spear-headed rails and acanthus finials. The 1-window outer ends set forward with upper loading bays, with a W entrance containing a metal-framed window. In between, the ground floor has 6 flat-headed casements to the left and 2 to the right; the upper floor is windowless. W elevation has 2-window end sections set forward, the N end has plain surrounds to blind windows, the S end has ground and first-floor segmental headed sashes; a central entrance to the courtyard inserted after 1891 beneath a loading bay, with further loading entrances either side of a projecting block to the S of the entrance, which has a central doorway and 2 inserted windows each side to each end. The external elevation to the rear SE range is blind. The NE side faces on to Drum Alley.
The central cooperage block has a coved cornice and is articulated by round-arched 2-storey arcades, linked by an impost band, containing ground-floor metal tripartite windows, now with small-paned timber casements, and first-floor tripartite lun-ettes. Centre of each elevation has an entrance with double iron doors, with C20 metal stairs on the NE side up to a round-arched entrance. On the S side is a single-storey rubble office block added pre-1909. The inner elevations of the outer quadrangle originally had open ground-floors divided by iron columns to a band, and flat-headed first-floor metal-framed windows with tilting casements; the 17-window NE range is still open on the ground floor, and has first-floor hoist doors with rusticated jambs to the 6th and 12th openings from the S. A double door leads through the back into Drum Alley. The other sides have rubble infill to the ground floor with flat-headed windows; upper floors as the SE side, the 31-window SW range was infilled in 1936, and has loading doors to the 6th and 12th bays from the E, and to the 22-window W range, infilled in 1906, has loading doors in the 7th and 15th bays from the N. 1930s blocks rendered with gabled ends.
INTERIOR: contains original fireproof details, the roofs are to the same design as in Melville and the Clarence (qv), with wrought-iron flat ties and king and queen ties, cast-iron L-section diagonal struts, I-section principal rafters, linked by purlins with parabolic flanges, wedged and bolted together; the central block has M roofs to the Wand E sides, with the valley supported partly by original slender columns and arched beams. The central block has incomplete fire-proof floors of T -section beams with curved web containing dovetail sockets for iron joists, supporting a flagstone floor. The S side has original lateral stacks, and an1899 first-floor browning tank. The former courtyard, covered by a 1916 steel roof, has blocked tripartite ground-floor and first-floor lunette windows. The outer ranges have timber floor beams, supported on the NE range by flanged capital brackets from the columns, with stairs in the end outer corners of the NE range and in the SW end of the front range; the N entrance pavilion has a central dogleg stair, and that to the S has a front dogleg stair.
HISTORY: Coopering was transferred to the New Cooperage in 1899, and the Naval Ordnance Department took over the Old Cooperage. The original design of the central block was completely fireproof, with metal shutters instead of windows, and had lateral fireplaces and stacks all round. The outer ranges were for cask storage and seasoning. Much survives of the original buildings, in particular the planning of the double quadrangles, and the fireproof construction. The all-metal roofs are rare early examples of fire-proof construction comparable with contemporary fire-proof textile mills. The Yard is one of the most remarkable and complete early C19 industrial complexes in the country, and a unique English example of Neo-Classical planning of a state manufacturing site.
(Sources: Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants: The Royal William Victualling Yard, Stonehouse: 1994: 25-38; The Mariner's Mirror: Coad J: Historic Architecture of HM Naval Base Devonport 1689-1850: London: 1983: 382-390; Coad J: The Royal Dockyards 1690-1850: Aldershot: 1989: 285-290).

Listing NGR: SX4604253476

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