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victualling

Royal William Victualling Yard

The Royal William Victualling Yard, in Stonehouse, a suburb of Plymouth, England, was the major victualling depot of the Royal Navy and an important adjunct of Devonport Dockyard. It was designed by the architect Sir John Rennie and was named for King William IV. It was built between 1826 and 1835, and occupies a site of approximately 16 acres. The Yard was closed in 1992 and subsequently passed into private hands. Grade 1 listed, it is now undergoing on-going conversion to an up-market mixed use development.

Early conservation and restoration work was carried out by Gilmore Hankey Kirke Architects. Together with Acanthus Ferguson Mann Architects they were awarded by the RIBA in the South West region for the Clarence and Brewhouse buildings. The scheme is also a winner of a RIBA 2006 Conservation Awards, which recognise best practice in the field of building conservation. Continued restoration, conservation and modernisation of these Georgian Buildings is being carried out by Urban Splash.

The Royal William Yard is a collection of grade 1 listed buildings, these include (East to West)

01 The Guardhouse
02 Residences 1 & 2
03 Clarence
04 Brewhouse
05 Cooperage
06 Melville
07 New Cooperage
08 Mills Bakery
09 Slaughterhouse

The site is open to the public and offers the 'Tunnel to Firestone Bay' a Public Basin for visiting boats and exciting restaurants, cafes and public events for all to enjoy!


01 The Guardhouse

Now partly restored and occupied as a small office space


02 Residences 1 & 2

Currently utilised as office space, these two grand houses were built for civil service officers in the Royal William Yard and were continually occupied as homes until shortly after Plymouth Development Corporation took over ownership.


03 Clarence

Now an award-winning conversion comprising 52 contemporary apartments, this building was originally used as a liquid store with one floor each of spirits, vinegar and beer. As needs changed, so did the role of Clarence and latterly the building was used for the storage of spares and components.


04 Brewhouse

The subject of a recent award-winning conversion, this building boasts 78 apartments, together with ground floor commercial space for exhibitions, cafes and restaurants. Purpose Built in 1834, it was never actually equipped as a brewhouse, since emerging technology allowed large quantities of fresh water to be carried at sea, thus eliminating the need for the beer rations. It stood empty until 1885, when the west wing was used as a repair workshop and rum store. In its history it has even housed a torpedo workshop for the Navy.


05 Cooperage

Built to accommodate 100 coopers to make the barrels and kegs in which the produce of the 'Yard' could be stored and transported. It was soon to become a monument to the march of technology, ss demand for the coopers' skills declined until only 12 were employed.


06 Melville

Designed, built and operated as the nerve centre of the whole of the Royal William Yard. All administration was carried out here and it served as a major storehouse for food, clothing and equipment.


07 New Cooperage

Sixty years after the Yard was completed, the New Cooperage was built to house the coopers and others tradesmen displaced by the rearrangements, including the arrival of workshops. Here there was room for painters, wheelwrighters and a host of other skilled men needed to keep the Royal Navy in perfect trim. Its final use was a survival pack ration and equipment store.


08 Mills Bakery

Currently being developed to include 83 apartments, commercial and office space, it was originally equipped as a biscuit and bread factory in 1834. Given only one full production run, there was no more baking here until 1847 when, newly equipped , it was used for its original purpose until 1925, subsequently becoming a clothing and equipment store.


09 Slaughterhouse

Up to 100 bullocks per day were slaughtered here and the meat salted into wooden barrels. The building was in use for this purpose for 26 years from 1859. Most recently, the Slaughterhouse has been used as a centre for building repair and maintenance.

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