Five historic Plymouth landmarks amazingly transformed

Royal William Yard and Devil's Point in Plymouth
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Throughout the centuries Plymouth has had a strong maritime and naval history and many renowned figures, such as Sir Francis Drake and Charles Darwin, have graced its shores to set sail on their explorations. Plymouth was awarded city status in 1928 and as its population grew, so did the need for services such as schools, medical facilities and housing.

There are a huge variety of properties in Plymouth which span the different eras of history. There are some landmarks with a fascinating past which have been repurposed over the years for different uses. Here are five of Plymouth’s historic sites which have a new lease of life after being transformed into homes.


Royal William Yard and Devil's Point in Plymouth
Royal William Yard and Devil's Point in Plymouth -Credit:Getty Images

Royal William Yard was designed by Victorian architect Sir John Rennie and constructed between 1825 and 1831. On entering the 15-acre site you pass under a granite arch gateway which is topped by a 13-foot statue of King William IV, the last Lord High Admiral, who the yard is named after. For the next 150 years or so the yard was the Navy’s local victualling base. According to the book Royal William Victualling Yard by Michael Nix: “John Rennie was instructed to design a yard which would be ‘capable of embracing every requisite purpose.’ He planned a self-contained food and drink manufacturing complex with sufficient storage for the necessities of a fleet.”

It was closed by the Ministry of Defence in the 1980s and regeneration company Urban Splash took it on in 2004 and it’s now a mixed-use neighbourhood with its own marina and dramatic views across Plymouth Sound. Royal William Yard has the largest collection of Grade I listed military buildings in Europe.

51 Brewhouse, Royal William Yard, Plymouth
51 Brewhouse, Royal William Yard, Plymouth -Credit:@ Stags

FOR SALE: 51 Brewhouse is a second floor duplex apartment spread over two floors with views over the marina. The building retains many of its original features including exposed walls, timber beams and feature windows complemented by contemporary infrastructure. The apartment has an entrance lobby with downstairs WC, lounge with exposed wooden beams, galley-style kitchen, a mezzanine area/bedroom 2, main bathroom and a master bedroom. Available through Stags (01752 223933) with a guide price of £270,000.

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The Grand Hotel, Elliot Street, The Hoe, Plymouth
The Grand Hotel, Elliot Street, The Hoe, Plymouth -Credit:@ Atwell Martin

The Grand Hotel, set on the corner of Elliot Street on The Hoe, is a Grade II listed building which was built in 1879 by John Pethick. The hotel had many famous visitors over the years including Prime Minister William Gladstone who addressed an estimated crowd of 100,000 in 1889, and The Beatles, who stopped off for lunch in September 1967, en route for Cornwall, while they were filming Magical Mystery Tour.

In 2003, a fire caused over £1 million damage and the 77-room hotel remained vacant until it was bought by Falmouth-based developer Devington Homes in 2008. The building was converted into luxury apartments in keeping with its extensive heritage, with a high number of period features being restored to ensure the character of the building was retained.

The Grand Hotel, Elliot Street, The Hoe
The Grand Hotel, Elliot Street, The Hoe -Credit:@ Atwell Martin

FOR SALE: This two-bedroom penthouse apartment spans an impressive 2000 sqft offering a luxurious and spacious living environment. One of the standout features is the view of Plymouth Sound, providing a captivating backdrop to every-day life and a private roof terrace offers the perfect sanctuary to unwind in absolute tranquillity. Accommodation also includes a lounge/dining room, two double bedrooms, a fully-integrated kitchen with modern appliances, a contemporary bathroom and en suite, a mezzanine level and secure underground parking within a gated area. Available through Atwell Martin (01752 202121) with an asking price of £650,000.


Pearn House, Eggbuckland Road, Plymouth
Pearn House, Eggbuckland Road, Plymouth -Credit:@ Yopa

Pearn House, on Eggbuckland Road, was a well known convalescent nursing home which opened in 1895 and served the community for 108 years. It’s named after Edwin Alonzo Pearn who was born in Devonport and bequeathed his wealth through a trust fund for the “general health and social wellbeing of the citizens of Plymouth.” Pearn Convalescent Trust stopped using the main house as a residential care facility in 2003 and closed at the end of October, but St Luke’s Hospice then occupied the building.

When the hospice vacated in July 2015 it remained empty until work started in 2017 to convert the Grade II listed building into 10 two-bedroom apartments. Occupants need to be over 55 years of age due to an existing covenant on the property restricting the future occupation of the building.

Pearn House, Eggbuckland Road, Plymouth
Pearn House, Eggbuckland Road, Plymouth -Credit:@ Yopa

FOR SALE: This two-bedroom ground floor apartment has additional ramped access into the main building making this a perfect residence for anyone with mobility restrictions. This apartment also comes with an allocated parking space. The open-plan living accommodation is light and airy with high ceilings and a large bay to the front with views across the communal gardens. Within the living room is the contemporary kitchen, and there are also two double bedrooms, with the master having an en-suite shower room, plus a main bathroom. Available through Yopa (0333 305 0202), with an asking price of offers in excess of £270,000.


The Royal Eye Infirmary, Mutley, Plymouth
The Royal Eye Infirmary, Mutley, Plymouth -Credit:@ Lang Town & Country

The Royal Eye Infirmary in Mutley served as Plymouth’s eye hospital for more than 100 years. The Plymouth Eye Dispensary was originally founded in 1821 by John Butter, an early nineteenth-century surgeon and physician, and it later changed its name thanks to royal patronage.

The Royal Eye Infirmary moved to this building in 1901 to honour the Silver Jubilee of Queen Victoria and became a familiar landmark for generations of local people. The building had a central three-storey administrative block and two two-storey blocks with wards and was extended in 1939. It became surplus to requirements when the NHS moved ophthalmology treatment to Derriford Hospital in 2013. An Exeter-based development company bought the building in 2016 and it was transformed into 12 luxury apartments.

The Royal Eye Infirmary, Mutley
The Royal Eye Infirmary, Mutley -Credit:@ Lang Town & Country

FOR SALE: Apartment 12 is located on the first floor, with a south-facing elevation, making it very light and airy. The apartment comprises an open plan, triple aspect living room, incorporating a well-appointed kitchen. There are two bedrooms, with the master, having access to a luxury en-suite bathroom, with the main bathroom being equally well appointed. This apartment also has the benefit of two allocated parking spaces. There is a loft area with power and ladder access. Available through Lang Town & Country (01752 256000) with an asking price of £299,999.


Ham House, Tewkesbury Close, Plymouth, Devon
Ham House, Tewkesbury Close, Plymouth, Devon -Credit:@ Bradleys Estate Agents

Ham House was originally built by Robert Trelawney in 1639, who was a wealthy merchant, mayor and also an MP for Plymouth. Now Grade II listed, its Historic England listing states it was: “altered in 1739 and late C19, when most of the windows were replaced in the style of the original windows, and extensions were made at the rear. Rendered rubble with original granite dressings and C19 freestone dressings; steep dry slate roofs with slightly-projecting eaves and verges with barge boards with central pendants.”

During the Second World War part of the house was damaged by a bomb and then blocked off. Ham House was given to Plymouth City Council in the 1940s and it was used as a public library until the 1970s. After a brief stint as a residential care home, the property was divided into flats in 1989.

Ham House, Tewkesbury Close, Plymouth
Ham House, Tewkesbury Close, Plymouth -Credit:@ Bradleys Estate Agents

FOR SALE: The property comprises two parts, the main house and the outbuilding. The main house has been divided into 10 self-contained apartments with a communal entrance hall and laundry facility. The ground floor provides three two-bedroom and three one-bedroom apartments with an additional four two-bedroom apartments situated on the first floor. The outbuilding to the rear of the property has been converted to accommodate a further four one-bedroom self-contained apartments arranged over two floors. Available through Bradleys Estate Agents (01752 260400) with an asking price of £1,600,000.