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HER Number:MDV117463
Name:Electricity Generating Station, Station Cottages Road, Princetown


Station building was designed in 1923 by Richardson & Gill, the Duchy architects and built in 1924. It was used until 1947, when Princetown was connected to the National Grid. Has been used as a Masonic Hall and is now home to a business producing navel memorabilia. Considered for listing in 2017 but rejected at initial assessment stage.


Grid Reference:SX 588 734
Map Sheet:SX57SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ELECTRICITY GENERATING HALL (Constructed, XX - 1924 AD to 1924 AD (Between))

Full description

Luscombe, E. W., 2005, How Electricity Came To Princetown, 1-4 (Un-published). SDV359890.

Curious building on Station Road which now bears the title 'Pressed Men' is the Electricity Generating Station built in 1924 and first supplied the town with power. The possibility of an electricity power supply was initiated by the Duchy of Cornwall in 1922 and the system was owned by the Duchy until it was absorbed by the West Devon Electricity Supply Company Limited in 1932. The station remained in use until 1947 when the village was connected to the grid.
Detailed information included from the Duchy Archives at Princetown regarding the tender process and construction of the building.
Apparently the building was later used as a Masonic Hall and is now being used by a firm ('Pressed Men') who make navel memorabilia.

Greeves, E., 2016, Princetown Smithy/Forge, Station Cottages Road, Princetown, Devon PL20 (Worksheet). SDV359889.

Princetown Smithy / Forge, Station Cottages Road. 1923 Electricity Generating Station designed by Richardson & Gill. The Electricity Generating Station is an important part of Princetown’s historic fabric. Not only was it the first provider of electricity for Princetown, but was designed in 1923 by Richardson & Gill, the Duchy architects who were nationally among the best-known architectural firms of the inter-war period. On its north side, there is a fascinating coloured plaque specially designed in London for the building (citing Luscombe, Ted (2002) ‘Princetown Electricity Supply’ Histelec News No.21, Supplement 1, South Western Electricity Historical Society).

Luscombe, E. W., 2016, Threat to an historic building in Princetown (Correspondence). SDV359891.

Recent proposal to build a distillery in Princetown would involve the potential demolition of the historic Electricity Generating Station building, which is an important part of the history of Princetown (Citing Luscombe, E. W., 2005). Also notes that the roundel over the entrance to the building has been restored and coloured.

Historic England, 2017, The Pressed Men Building, Princetown, Dartmoor Reject at Initial Assessment Report, 03/02/2017 (Correspondence). SDV360109.

This building was put forward for consideration for listing to Historic England but has been rejected at initial assessment.
In accordance with the Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings (DCMS, 2010) for buildings dating after 1840 progressively greater selection is necessary. As stated in Historic England's Selection Guide for Utilities and Communications Structures (2011), only the most important power stations are listable and this may include earliest survivors or key examples of a major development. However, important
considerations are architectural elaboration of the exterior, quality of the interior, and the survival of any machinery and / or switch gear.
Judged against the criteria, and the considerations in our supplementary guidance, the former electricity generating station of 1924 and adjacent Pocket Power Station of 1959, do not merit listing for the following principal reasons:
* Level of intactness: the buildings, having undergone significant alteration, do not survive sufficiently
intact to merit listing;
* Architectural interest: although the 1924 station displays some architectural embellishment, in a
national context it is not of sufficient quality to merit listing. As expected of a building of this type, the 1959 station is of a plain, functional design created specifically to house the Proteus engine. The latter's
removal, together with the loss of its oil tank and chimney, has significantly diminished its overall integrity and interest;
* Historic interest: although the buildings are of interest in their contribution to our understanding of key developments within the history of electric power generation, in particular the automated Pocket Power Station, this interest on its own is not sufficient to outweigh the overall lack of intactness and architectural interest.
Although possessing some claims to interest, and as poignant reminders of key developments in the
history of electric power generation, the Pressed Men building (the former electric power generating
station of 1924), and the adjacent Pocket Power Station of 1959 in Princetown, Dartmoor, lack the level of architectural interest and intactness needed to recommend listing.

Wapshott, E. + Boyd, N., 2018, Pressed Men Princetown Dartmoor Devon, 14-5 (05/03/2018) (Report - Survey). SDV361149.

The Pressed Men building was originally the power station for Princetown. Constructed in 1924, it was later converted to house a forge. Rejected for listing in 2017, it has been considerably altered. It does not contain any important machinery. Although not important enough for listing, this is a locally important building.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV359889Worksheet: Greeves, E.. 2016. Princetown Smithy/Forge, Station Cottages Road, Princetown, Devon PL20. Worksheets. Digital.
SDV359890Un-published: Luscombe, E. W.. 2005. How Electricity Came To Princetown. Digital. 1-4.
SDV359891Correspondence: Luscombe, E. W.. 2016. Threat to an historic building in Princetown. Letter. Digital.
SDV360109Correspondence: Historic England. 2017. The Pressed Men Building, Princetown, Dartmoor Reject at Initial Assessment Report. Reject at Initial Assessment Report. Digital. 03/02/2017.
SDV361149Report - Survey: Wapshott, E. + Boyd, N.. 2018. Pressed Men Princetown Dartmoor Devon. Southwest Archaeology. 180305. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 14-5 (05/03/2018).

Associated Monuments

MDV106930Related to: Princetown Fire Station (Building)
MDV117473Related to: Princetown pocket power station, Station Road (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7537 - Building recording at the former 'Pressed Men' and Dartmoor Garden Machinery site, Princtown

Date Last Edited:May 4 2018 3:02PM