Jump to content
Users will currently see a stripped down version of the site until an advertising issue is fixed. If you are seeing any suspect adverts please go to the bottom of the page and click on Themes and select IPS Default. ×
RMweb
 

Brunel's Atmospheric Engine House, Totnes


JHWestern

Recommended Posts

Apologies to any for whom this is old news - Devonians and, Totnesians in particular, will have seen the local press track this story over a number of years.

 

I have had to follow this through the internet and sporadic reports from the Devon branch of the family. So, I was delighted to discover a relatively new website by the group trying to put the site to good use: www.atmostotnes.org/

 

I would encourage you to sign up to support. There is also an option to donate. They are very friendly. I was cheeky enough to suggest that they approach Bachmann with a view to producing a model in return for a donation, as happend with the Great Central. If anyone here is interested in the production of such a model, it would be good to register interest here or with Bachmann.

 

Anyway, the site includes 2 wonderful images from the Totnes Image Bank. Both appear to be second half of the '30s. Both show the survival of the Italianate campanile style chimney and its co-existence with the red brick Daws chimney. Both show the accretions made to the west flank of the building; far different from the concrete loading bay that we are more used to seeing.

 

One shot shows 4 vehicles, at least 3 of which are GW, being loaded/unloaded with churns and boxes. This the only picture of GW road vehicles at Totnes that I have seen for the 30s.

 

The pictures have answered many questions that I have long pondered about the appearance of the building after it went to Daws in 1934. It may be that I now build a late 30s version of the building for a mid-30s layout, but that's close enough and far closer than I could have got without these pictues.

 

It seems that 00 gauge model of Totnes made in the 70s was right concerning the survival of the campanile after all. I remember reading that they felt, post-build, it should not have been included in a 30s model.

 

Anyway, I have the lightness of soul of someone who has suddenly been handed the answer after years of profitless speculation, so please forgive my enthusiasm.

 

If anyone has any comments about this building, its history or the efforts to give it a new lease of life, please do add to this thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I watched the site, and unfortunately the plans for the building is on the verge of heretical......

To use as many modern materials as possible is not a good way to restore an old important building.

I think the Architects involved has had very little dialogue with the involved parties....

That is mostly the case when these plans pop up.

I hope they will get some funding for the project, but in that case I hope for some more discrete design for the Brunel building!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I watched the site, and unfortunately the plans for the building is on the verge of heretical......

To use as many modern materials as possible is not a good way to restore an old important building.

I think the Architects involved has had very little dialogue with the involved parties....

That is mostly the case when these plans pop up.

I hope they will get some funding for the project, but in that case I hope for some more discrete design for the Brunel building!

 

I tend to agree; it would be a shame to remove all those vile concrete additions simply in order to replace them with steel and glass. I am no conservation or planning expert, but I suspect that Grade II listed status might prove a double edged sword - even restoring the building to its pre-creamery appearance would be difficult, perhaps more difficult than sticking a glass box on the side; the planning world is a world with neither logic nor consistency.

 

If it were up to me, I'd build the eco-city on the site of the modern industrial buildings and I would restore the Brunel building to as near as possible to its original appearance, complete with campanile tower and pantile roofs. I suspect that would never happen. If a use cannot be found for it, even a use involving unimaginative modern additions by a trendy architect, it will crumble away.

 

I conclude that this current project is the best and perhaps only way available to save what is left of the building.

 

My concern is that Dairy Crest still own it and (on my reading) show no signs of letting it go gracefully. Let's face it, they did their best to knock it down and, now that they have been stopped, have decided to start talking about a legacy for Totnes. This is, of course, pure cant, because they also have said they want a full commercial return on the site. That might be fair enough so far as the rest of the site goes, but the Brunel building probably has a negative value because it would cost so must to restore.

 

I conclude that, unless the Atmos people win out, Dairy Crest will sit on a crumbling building with which they can do nothing indefinitely.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold
The Atmos people are holding an event - for those of you lucky emough to live in Devon, it's this Tuesday, 17 April, 6.30pm at the Civic Hall.
As I read this, I realise that I am missing this event... :(

 

Here is a view taken the other day of progress on the roof works: post-57-0-92735800-1334691613_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...