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HER Number:MDV78895
Name:1 Grenville Street, Bideford


1 Grenville Street, Bideford. An Art-Deco building at the corner of Grenville Street and Market Place.


Grid Reference:SS 452 265
Map Sheet:SS42NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBideford
Ecclesiastical ParishBIDEFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SHOP (XVIII to XX - 1800 AD to 1934 AD (Not applicable))

Full description

Torridge District Council, Bideford Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme. Implementation Programme 1999-2002, 9 (Un-published). SDV345902.

A quality Art-Deco building, unlisted, at the corner of Market Place and Grenville Street, recently repaired. Drawing.

English Heritage, 07/11/2012, 1 Grenville Street, Bideford, Torridge (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV350581.

1 Grenville Street, created in 1934 by Orphoot, Whiting and Lindsay, as headquarters for the Western Counties Building Society, being an Art Deco re-modelling of an older building.

Art Deco banks are extremely rare. This diverting, decorative style does not appear to have fitted the
accepted notion of how a bank should present itself, though Deco influences are felt in some essentially classical buildings, and occasionally predominate, as in McDonnell and Dixon's 1928 Bank of Ireland in Belfast. This makes the Western Counties building at 1 Grenville Street, Bideford, of particular interest. The fact that a fairly lavish re-build, providing considerably larger premises for the building society, was undertaken during the years of the Great Depression when bank building markedly slowed, indicates a prosperity and forward-looking confidence which was underlined by the remarks of the society's chairman atthe opening, expressing appreciation of the 'original' and 'up-to-date' design. The building's architect incharge, F E Whiting of Orphoot, Whiting and Lindsay, stated that they had attempted to produce 'as moderna design as possible'. Modernity was clearly an essential part of the image the Western Counties wished to convey, and the jazzy design of the re-built structure, with its stylish use of applied materials – British and foreign – which continues to form a surprising focal point within an otherwise traditional Bideford street, was felt to be appropriate. Nonetheless, the unusual choice of style is interesting. Perhaps it was thought that an Art Deco building would be enjoyed by the inhabitants of Bideford, where a more starkly modern design might have been more challenging to popular taste.

The building remains remarkably intact. Externally, the only significant alteration is to the parapet, originally with stepped gables to each street-facing elevation: these stepped sections have been replaced by triangular details, which are entirely in keeping with the Art Deco spirit of the building, and the triangular motif featured in the windows, though of course the change is regrettable. The stone window and door surrounds survive, with the incised building society name merely obscured by paint; and perhaps most remarkably, all the decorative windows survive, together with the original lanterns to the gables. Internally, the decorative scheme to the elliptical first-floor boardroom, with its high-quality panelling and detailing, and integral lighting, is of considerable note, and since it survives complete, can be fully appreciated. The banking hall itself does not appear to have been given such a sophisticated treatment, and some of the features essential to its original function – notably, the counter – have been removed. However, the majority of the original decoration does appear to remain, including the restrained panelling with corresponding doors, the parquet flooring – with its line demarcating the original position of the counter – and the panelled stair. Overall, the fact that this
most unusual and engaging building remains so complete and so legible is much to be celebrated, and
protection through statutory designation is undoubtedly appropriate.

English Heritage, 15/08/2012, 1 Grenville Street, Torridge. Report to consider if building should be listed. (Report - Survey). SDV350035.

Building to be considered for listing. Initial report completed.

The building now known as 1, Grenville Street stands at the corner of Grenville Street and Market Place. The site was occupied from the late 19th century by Heywood and Cock, a large drapery business, until January 1934, when a fire did significant damage to the building. The building immediately to the north of Number1 Grenville Street formed part of the late-19th century commercial complex, and features of this surviving building, such the pedimented gables, finials, and pilasters, give an indication of the previous architectural treatment of Number 1. The building was re-modelled almost immediately after the fire, both internally and externally, as the new headquarters of the local building society, the Western Counties, which opened in October 1934. The architect was Orphoot, Whiting and Lindsay. The Scottish B. N. H. Orphoot, who had local connections, had set up a practice with F. E. Whiting in Bideford in 1922, retaining the Edinburgh office; I. G. Lindsay joined in 1933. The builder, Messrs Beer and Son, was also local, as were the majority of the workmen engaged on the project, and it was noted at the opening ceremony that at least 80 per cent of the work and materials were British. It was also observed that, although treated in a modern manner, the simple, white appearance of the building was suitable to the old character of Bideford. The Western Counties Building Society was formed in 1862, and played an important part in Bideford's economic life for over a century, becoming the West of England Building Society in 1985, and eventually becoming part of the Nationwide; the building society remained at 1, Grenville Street for nearly half a century, before moving to new premises. The building was subsequently used as a teacher training centre; the printing shop which has occupied the site for many years has recently closed.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

University of Southampton, 2018, North Devon Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment, 23 (Interpretation). SDV361978.

1 Grenville Street, Bideford. An Art-Deco building at the corner of Grenville Street and Market Place.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV345902Un-published: Torridge District Council. Bideford Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme. Implementation Programme 1999-2002. Torridge District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 9.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #105703 ]
SDV350035Report - Survey: English Heritage. 15/08/2012. 1 Grenville Street, Torridge. Report to consider if building should be listed.. English Heritage. 472332. Digital.
SDV350581List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 07/11/2012. 1 Grenville Street, Bideford, Torridge. Additions and Amendments to Checklist. Digital + A4.
SDV361978Interpretation: University of Southampton. 2018. North Devon Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. RCZAS. Digital. 23.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jan 20 2019 11:38AM