In 1999 Simpson & Brown was commissioned, in conjunction with Richard Murphy, to alter Poltimore House, a Grade 2* listed building situated on the outskirts of Exeter, for use as a contemporary art gallery.
Poltimore House was the home of the Bamfylde family for over six centuries. The Treaty of Exeter was signed here in 1646, ending the Civil War in the south-west of England. It is a large and complex building; every hundred years or so the family pulled down and rebuilt parts, modernising their house and estate. The main house comprises four ranges enclosing a courtyard which was completely infilled by the mid 20th century. All four ranges are of two storeys with attics. There are extensive service blocks to the rear dating from the mid 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Bamfylde family left the mansion in 1921, considering the house too big for private use. The building became a school and then a hospital before being left unoccupied in the 1990s. The District Council has fought hard against arson, theft and vandalism which since then have been constant threats. The house has been transferred to the Poltimore House Trust, specially established with help from English Heritage and East Devon District Council.
Simpson & Brown has also prepared proposals for the sensitive conservation and re-use of the historic house, which are informed and supported by a Conservation Plan.
When completed, Poltimore House will provide five galleries and a study centre which will include lecture and education rooms, a reference library and an archive. There will also be a bookshop, cafe and thirteen study bedrooms. Two outbuildings within the thirteen acre gardens will be used for studios and workshops.
|Project name:||Poltimore House|
|Client name:||Poltimore House Trust|
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