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HER Number:MDV77999
Name:Smelting House, Union Tin Smelting Works


Smelting house built in 1849, later extended at the north end of the east elevation. The furnace chimneys have been removed.


Grid Reference:SX 434 650
Map Sheet:SX46NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBere Ferrers
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBERE FERRERS

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 92615

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SMELT MILL (XIX - 1849 AD to 1849 AD (Between))

Full description

Booker, F., 1977, Union Tin Smelting Works, Weir Quay, Bere Alston (Un-published). SDV359153.

Buck, C., 2008, Weir Quay Smelters, Devon: Impact and Conservation Assessment, 24-5 (Report - Assessment). SDV344723.

Externally this building has changed very little since its construcion in 1849, apart from the removal of the two tall square furnace chimneys. The main change is the extension of the smelter east wall to the same line as the assay office and tin store. The original construction of the roof consisted of four main steel columns supporting a large timber frame of two main tie beams, upon which five 'A' frames were set. The roof profile on its east side is now the same as the assay and tin store. The sites of the former brick furnaces cannot be seen, and all of the window openings in the north wall appear to have been infilled with concrete block. There are two wide doorway entrances in the southern end of the east wall (the lower half of each infilled with concrete block), and two higher oval openings. The west wall has a wide high doorway opening (now closed off with galvanised sheeting) with a circular opening above, either side of which are single rectangular window openings with frames. The south wall has a central wide opening with wooden doors, either side of which are three window openings with timber louvred slats, some of which may be original. All of the openings are supported by segmental brick arches with brick side jambs. Other details: Figures 5, 10-14, 22, site 16. Map object based on this Source.

English Heritage, 2010, Historic Houses Register (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV154869.

Former smelting works including assay office now used as a flat. Probably built in 1849. Rubble walls. Hipped asbestos slate roofs. Assay office has three brick stacks one at right-hand gable end and two lateral stacks at rear.
Large smelting house with smaller room divided off at one end as a strong room probably for the purpose of storing bar tin after smelting. Attached at right angles at the left-hand end is a 2 storey building with former assay office on first floor reached by external steps (now converted into a flat), and store on the ground floor. Attached at right angles to the smelting house at the opposite end is a derelict building originally the count house.
Smelting house is single storey, assay office is 2 storey. Symmetrical front to smelting house with 3 windows on either side of double doors, all with elliptical brick arches. Assay office is attached to left-hand end of smelting house projecting at right angles. Asymmetrical front has stone steps with iron railings at left of centre leading to first floor C19 4 panelled door. To either side of it is original 12 pane hornless sash window with brick arch. Small window on ground floor to either side of the steps have segmental arches, internal shutters and stanchion bars. Adjoining this building and in front of the smelting house is a paved granite yard. Dividing this from the road is a high rubble wall with roughly central square granite gate piers.
Interior: the smelting house has a roof supported on cast iron columns, one of which is dated 1849.
The smelting works were in operation from 1849 to circa 1890.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Map object based on this Source.

Buck, C., 2011, Union Tin Smelter, Weir Quay (Ground Photograph). SDV347620.

Photographs of Union Tin Smelter before, during and after conservation works undertaken 2009-2010.

English Heritage, 24/01/2013, Former Tamar Union Tin Smelting Works, Count House, Weir Quay, Bere Ferrers (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV350900.

Assessment of former tin works. Decision made not to upgrade the listing but the entry has been amended.

Given the results of the recent archaeological assessment, the site should be considered for scheduled monument status. The county council also highlighted the fact that the site has the potential for below-ground industrial archaeological deposits. A scheduling assessment is being carried out in tandem with this upgrade case to consider the archaeological remains.

Although the historic interest of the former Tamar Union tin smelting works is undisputed and was
recognised when the building was first listed, it lacks sufficient intactness and evident technological interest to merit listing at a higher grade. It should not, therefore, be upgraded although the list entry should be amended to better reflect the building's interest.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV154869List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2010. Historic Houses Register. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV344723Report - Assessment: Buck, C.. 2008. Weir Quay Smelters, Devon: Impact and Conservation Assessment. Cornwall County Council Report. 2008R137. A4 Stapled + Digital. 24-5.
SDV347620Ground Photograph: Buck, C.. 2011. Union Tin Smelter, Weir Quay. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV350900List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 24/01/2013. Former Tamar Union Tin Smelting Works, Count House, Weir Quay, Bere Ferrers. Additions and Amendments to Checklist. Digital + A4.
SDV359153Un-published: Booker, F.. 1977. Union Tin Smelting Works, Weir Quay, Bere Alston. Typescript + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV13882Part of: Weirquay, Union Tin Smelting Works (Building)
MDV78001Related to: Assay Office, Union Tin Smelting Works (Building)
MDV78006Related to: South Upper Yard, Union Tin Smelting Works (Building)
MDV77998Related to: Store for Manufactured Tin, Union Tin Smelting Works (Building)
MDV78000Related to: Store For Unmanufactured Metals, Union Tin Smelting Works (Building)
MDV78005Related to: West Upper Yard, Union Tin Smelting Works (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4767 - Archaeological Assessment of Weir Quay Smelters
  • EDV4768 - Field Survey of Weir Quay Smelters, Devon

Date Last Edited:Sep 8 2015 3:04PM