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HER Number:MDV19560
Name:Hydro-Electric Engine House, Castle Drogo


Turbine House located to the southeast of Castle Drogo on the south bank of the River Teign. The electricity generating plant designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens was built in the late 1920s and it remained in use into the 1990s. Both turbines were to be refurbished and repaired in 1995.


Grid Reference:SX 725 898
Map Sheet:SX78NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishMoretonhampstead
Ecclesiastical ParishMORETONHAMPSTEAD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78NW/66/1
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 508438

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • POWER STATION (XX - 1901 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1963, Untitled Source (Cartographic). SDV320771.

The 'Weir' below Hunter's Tor is located c360m to the southwest of the generating plant at SX72278963.

National Trust, 1982, Castle Drogo (Leaflet). SDV277065.

The weir below Hunts (Hunter's) Tor provides water for the Turbine House on south bank of River Teign. This generates electricity for Castle Drogo and was designed by Lutyens.

Trueman, M., 1994 - 1998, Electric Power Generation (Report - non-specific). SDV335661.

Castle Drogo was designed by Edwin Lutyens and built between 1911 and 1930. The hydro-electric scheme probably dates to the 1920s and survives virtually intact. The power house stands on the south bank of the river Teign. A weir below Hunter's Tor feeds water through a sluice into a pipeline of flanged concrete sections, which runs to a set of screening tanks at the rear of the power house, with a stepped outflow on the north side. The power house itself is a single story building of rough cast concrete construction with a tall half-pyrmidal roof, a single door in the east wall and wooden casement window in each of the east and north walls.

Harris, W. B., 1995, Hydro-Electricity in Devon: Past, Present and Future, 286 (Article in Serial). SDV125385.

Privately owned hydroelectric generator installed at castle drogo in 1927 using water from a leat to power two turbines. The larger turbine had been damaged and both were to be refurbished and reinstated in 1995.

Chitty, G., 2000, Electric Power Generation, Step 4 Report, Monument Protection Programme, 17, 31, 41, Site 8 (Report - non-specific). SDV335660.

Site visited in 2000 (estimated). Small single storey power house with screening tanks for a hydroelectric scheme to power the Castle Drogo estate. This is an exceptionally well-preserved system, complete with turbine and generator set, and screen house. The building, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, is also little altered apart from loss of the original thatch roof, now covered with corrugated tin. Important as in integral part of Lutyens' design for the Castle Drogo estate, and as a fine example of a large country house supply from the 1920s. Other details: Site Assessment: Devon 8, Castle Drogo.

Watts, M., 2005, Hydroelectric Works at Castle Drogo (Report - Survey). SDV320774.

Turbine House located to the southeast of Castle Drogo on the south bank of the River Teign. The electricity generating plant designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens was built in the late 1920s & included a powerhouse, a holding tank & penstocks. Th holding tank & tailrace are heavily silted with sluices allowing water into the penstocks housing the turbines. The power house 4.88m x 6.10m is of reinforced concrete is partly below ground with two windows & an entrance on the east side. The large turbine & generator have been removed to the stable block at Castle Drogo but the smaller turbine remains in position along with the governor. The electrical control & switch gear for the installations is mounted on a slate panel in the northeast corner of the power house. The electricity was carried to the castle by a two-core lead-covered cable originally in a trench under the river but after a flood c1946 it was altered to an overhead supply. A mains supply was installed in the 1950s but the hydroelectric works continued in use into the early 1990s. The power house had a telephone link to the castle installed in 1915.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

English Heritage, 2011, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV347072.

Hydro-Electric Engine House at Castle Drogo. Turbine house by Sir Edwin Lutyens and built in the 1920s to supply electricity to Castle Drogo. The turbine house comprises a small concrete building with a roof now covered in corrugated metal, but formerly thatched. It is a single storey building with a steeply pitched roof. It lies in the valley of the River Teign and is fed by a pipeline which carried water into the screening tanks and then, under pressure, through the turbines within the turbine house.
EXTERIOR: It has a plank double door with two light casement to the east with a second casement window to the north elevation overlooking an adjacent stepped outflow sluice and sluice gate. A series of screening tanks are attached to the west.
INTERIOR: Internally, the turbine house is open to the roof which is of boarded common rafters. A Crompton turbine with a Gilkes governor, generator and distribution board survives in situ along with the machine base and conduit for a second turbine. The paired turbines were intended to be used alternately with one in use during the summer months and the other in winter.
HISTORY: Castle Drogo is an ambitious country house designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Julius Drewe (1856-1931), a self-made man who made his fortune in the grocery business, retiring at 33 to pursue his dream of creating a fitting family home which gave dignity to his lineage. Commonly called the 'last castle in England', Castle Drogo (listed Grade I) is undoubtedly one of Lutyens's masterpieces. The foundation stone was laid on the 4th April, 1911 and work continued, intermittently during the war, until 1930. In addition to the house, Lutyens also designed the stables and coach house garages (listed Grade II) and the turbine house, located to the south east of the house on the south bank of the River Teign.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The 1920s turbine house by Sir Edwin Lutyens is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
Architectural interest: a deliberate use of vernacular references in a small industrial building by Sir Edwin Lutyens at the edge of a designed landscape
Intactness: an unusually complete private electricity generation scheme of the 1920s Group Value: strong group value with Castle Drogo (listed Grade I); the stables (listed Grade II) and the designed landscape (registered Grade II*) Other details: LB UID: 508438.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV125385Article in Serial: Harris, W. B.. 1995. Hydro-Electricity in Devon: Past, Present and Future. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 127. A5 Paperback. 286.
SDV277065Leaflet: National Trust. 1982. Castle Drogo. National Trust Field Guide.
SDV320771Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1963. Ordnance Survey 1:10,560 Map. Map (Paper).
SDV320774Report - Survey: Watts, M.. 2005. Hydroelectric Works at Castle Drogo. 143/2005.
SDV335660Report - non-specific: Chitty, G.. 2000. Electric Power Generation, Step 4 Report, Monument Protection Programme. English Heritage. A4 Spiral Bound. 17, 31, 41, Site 8.
SDV335661Report - non-specific: Trueman, M.. 1994 - 1998. Electric Power Generation. English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme Steps 1 and 3 Report. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #82535 ]
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.

Associated Monuments

MDV32487Related to: Castle Drogo estate and gardens, Drewsteignton (Park/Garden)
MDV80477Related to: Castle Drogo Leat, Moretonhampstead (Monument)
MDV8470Related to: Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton (Building)
MDV19559Related to: Weir south-east of Hunter's Tor, Moretonhampstead (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6046 - Archaeological Survey of National Trust Teign Valley Properties (Ref: 6764)

Date Last Edited:Apr 5 2019 3:24PM