20th Century City project to help public find out about Plymouth's hidden architectural heritage

By Culture24 Staff | 22 April 2010
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A photo of a huge stone statue of a lion under a blue sky

(Above) A naval memorial in Plymouth

An interactive tour will lead residents through the post-war "architecture of the future" in Plymouth during a major new 20th Century City project led by the Architecture Centre Devon and Cornwall and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.

Heritage walking trail maps, a printed family activity guide available throughout the city and a downloadable audio guided tour will explain the history of Plymouth, which boasts the largest number of post-war listed buildings in the UK outside of London.

Granted city status in 1928, the structural look of the naval base underwent radical change after it was had been battered by Second World War bombing raids. The designs aimed to shape future blueprints, aiming to be "clean, bright, democratic and optimistic".

A photo showing a view of a large block building next to trees under a blue sky in an urban landscape

A view of the Theatre Royal

The two-year scheme, paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund and CABE, will encourage walkers to rediscover these distinctive buildings through archive images provided by Plymouth and West Devon Record office and resources for community groups and teachers.

"The history of the city of Plymouth is punctuated with key events in our national heritage, and the 20th century was no exception to this," said HLF Head of Region Nerys Watts.

"Devastated by the heavy bombing of World War II, the radical design for reconstruction of the city centre exemplified the forward-looking, optimistic outlook of the post-war period.

A photo of a stone statue of a mythological man against a stone building

A stone loiterer outside the city's Barclays Bank

"We are delighted to support this project, which records and retells the story of that era in an exciting and innovative way that will capture the imaginations of young and old, local citizen and visitor alike."

The 20th Century City website will act as a portal and encourage people to add to a collection of photos of the landscape and public art in and around the city.

"We want the 20th century architecture and built environment of Plymouth to be accessible and inspirational to all ages," said Marie Sellars of the Architecture Centre.

A photo of a brick church reaching up to a blue sky

The Church of Christ the King

"The website, family activity and walking trail maps will enable people to explore and have fun learning about the sometimes hidden 20th century design, art and architecture of Plymouth's city centre, and why it is so special."

Email info@20thcenturycity.org.uk to take part.

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