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HER Number:MDV78946
Name:Berry and Vincent Workshop, 18 Union Road, Crediton


Builder's yard with offices, workshop and ancillary buildings which developed primarily between 1860 and 1905. The buildings are an unusual example of a purpose-built builders' premises and make a significant contribution to the character and appearance of the Conservaton Area.


Grid Reference:SS 835 001
Map Sheet:SS80SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishCrediton
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCREDITON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WORKSHOP (Unknown date)

Full description

Mid Devon District Council, 2003, Crediton Conservation Area Appraisal, Photo 39 (Report - non-specific). SDV345978.

Berry and Vincent's workshop and the wooden store building at the rear make a significant contribution to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.

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

Cox, J. + Thorp, J. R. L., 2015, Berry and Vincent, 18 Union Street, Crediton: Historic Building Assessment (Report - Survey). SDV362926.

Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants was contracted to provide an assessment of the Berry and Vincent’s site from an historic and archaeological point of view. The report is both a record of the buildings and A Statement of Significance of the Heritage Assets. It comprises a description of the fabric and layout of the buildings accompanied by a photographic record of the site.
The Berry and Vincent’s site occupies an important and historically significant site next to the Church of the Holy Cross on the north side of Union Road. It is at the west end, separated only from the churchyard by the narrow Church Street.
In 1970 the company produced a small booklet entitled Bicentenary, 1770-1970, Berry and Vincents Ltd, Building Contractors, Crediton (DRO 1937B/M/Z44). It briefly explains the history of the firm. It was founded by John Prawl in 1770, with premises in Park Street at its junction with Bowden Hill. The booklet describes the firm’s succession through three generations until John Berry (born 1780 and apprenticed to the firm in 1794) married Martha Prawl in 1803. On the death of Martha’s father, John, in 1822, John Berry became sole owner. He retired in 1850 (died 1863) succeeded by his son William Berry (1807-1874) who diversified into furniture and joinery, whilst expanding the building works by winning the contracts to build stations on the new railways and the maintenance of twenty country bridges.
In c.1860 the old premises near St Lawrence’s Green was taken over for a new school site and the firm moved to its present situation in Union Road. Berry’s descendants invested in oilfired power machinery in the early 20th century and diversified into reinforced concrete.
The principal stones used in the masonry are the hard purple-coloured volcanic Posbury stone and red sandstone, both available within the parish. The dressings are Bathstone and many of the roofs of Welsh slate indicating the influence of the railways.
The Exterior
The style is eclectic incorporating elements of neo-vernacular and Queen Anne. The ground floor level employs smart masonry whilst the first floor is timber-framed. The snecked masonry is mostly dressed blocks of rock-faced purple volcanic stone from Posbury in the northeastern part of the parish and including a small proportion of red sandstone. The dressings are Bathstone ashlar, with the odd repair in Portland stone. The studwork comprises relatively slender and close-set timbers with rails at window sill level. The king studs and those over the rails have small straight arch-braces to the wall plates and there is criss-cross diagonal bracing below the window sills. The effect is rather French. The panels, where they remain in their original form, are infilled with lath-and-plaster.
Much of the interior partitions, joinery and other features are probably original. There have been changes but the basic layout and elements of original finish remain on both floors. (See report for full details).

Historic England, 2019, Berry & Vincent site, 18 Union Road, Crediton, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV362976.

Notification of application to add the building to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

Historic England, 2019, National Heritage List for England, 1464174 (National Heritage List for England). SDV362730.

Office and Showroom, Boundary Walls and Gatepiers at Berry and Vincent Builder's Yard
Office and showroom, boundary walls and gatepiers to the Berry and Vincent builder’s yard, 1880s.
Reasons for Designation
The office and showroom, boundary walls and gatepiers to the Berry and Vincent builder’s yard are listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons: Architectural interest:
* a rare example of an office and showroom associated with a building company, probably built to serve the monumental masonry arm of the business; * a distinctive neo-vernacular building whose commercial function is apparent through its large shop windows and interior fittings; * it survives well, forming a smart entrance to the yard.
Historic interest:
* associated with Berry and Vincent, a Crediton firm in business from 1770 until the late C20, which was prolific in the town and county, and which built a number of the town’s buildings which are now listed.
Group value:
* the office has a direct visual and historic functional relationship with 1 Church Street (Grade II) and the Church of the Holy Cross (Grade I).
The former Berry and Vincent builder’s yard was developed in a number of phases, primarily between 1860 and 1905. The firm originated in 1770, with local builder John Prawl. Prawl junior apprenticed John Berry in around 1794, and in 1803 their families were united by Berry’s marriage to Prawl’s daughter. The couple’s three sons were each apprenticed to different building trades: carpentry, plumbing and masonry, and the firm passed through successive generations, attaining large contracts for the maintenance of the county’s bridges, building a number of railway stations and bridges, as well as schools, housing and ecclesiastical buildings; they are known to have undertaken extensive work on the Church of the Holy Cross, adjacent to the yard. Edwin Reginald Vincent was employed initially as a manager, and was taken into partnership in 1923.
Trade directories and newspaper adverts provide an overview of the type of work undertaken by the firm. In 1844 two premises seem to have been in operation, one dedicated to painting, plumbing and glazing, the other, plastering and masonry. The firm is listed in an 1889 directory as a builder and general contractor, stone and marble mason, builders’ merchant and undertaker, office and works. The following year the description specifies ‘monumental mason’. In 1902 the directory notes, in addition to the previous activities, that the firm is a contractor to HM War Office and Admiralty. Newspaper adverts from the first years of the C20 note that they had a steam joinery works, and that they were the county’s sole supplier of ‘Ruberoid’ – an early form of roofing felt. Subsequent adverts promote ‘Berry’s bungalows and cheap cottages – fire-proof, damp-proof, and vermin-proof. Cement concrete throughout, quickly erected’. Activity seems to have contracted after the First World War: the 1919 directory describes them simply as a ‘stone and marble masons', and in 1939, ‘builders and contractors and monumental masons’.
The firm is purported to have moved to the present site in 1860. However, no 1 Church Street (listed at Grade II), the house which stands to the east of the yard, is presumed to have been associated with the business, and census returns do not record William Berry in occupation until 1881. The 1871 census records that the house was occupied by Hugh Pollard, a mason, which raises the possibility that Berry took over an existing business premises. Initially, only the southern half of the yard seems to have been in Berry’s ownership; the northern section had been acquired and developed by 1905.
The office and showroom building is that in receipt of the greatest architectural pretension, intended to showcase the firm’s design and construction capabilities. The building is shown on the plot on Crediton’s town plan of 1889, and stylistically it appears to be of that approximate date. There have been alterations on the rear, north elevation: the ground floor of the easternmost bay has been replaced in brick, and the westernmost bay has an extension on the north side. There are matching boundary walls around the south-east corner of the yard; these are partially truncated, then continue in front of 1 Church Street.
There are several other buildings on the site (none are included in the listing), including a large workshop, a number of ancillary, multipurpose buildings, and a the framework of a hoist.
Office and showroom, boundary wall and gatepiers to the Berry and Vincent builder’s yard, 1880s.
MATERIALS: constructed from Posbury stone and sandstone, with limestone dressings, half-timbering and a slate roof.
PLAN: the premises occupies a corner plot at the junction of Union Road and Church Street, to the sides and rear of 1 Church Street (listed Grade II). The office and showroom building forms the public-facing entrance to the site; it is a rectangular range facing onto Union Road. Entrance to the yard is through gates at the south-east corner, and it is enclosed on the south-east side by walls.
EXTERIOR: the building is a two-storey, four-bay range with a pitched, slate roof. The ground floor is masonry: primarily Posbury stone, with Bath stone copings and quoins; and the first floor is timber framed, with lath and plaster infill panels. The south elevation faces onto Union Road; the ground floor has four wide, full-height openings between stone piers. Chamfered timber lintels bridge the span of the openings, and rest on moulded stone corbels. The first bay opening contains a pair of timber garage doors. The second to fourth bays have windows with glazing bars arranged in different geometric formations. A wall plate with protruding joist-ends separates the storeys. On the first floor there are pairs of casements within pointed arched openings in each bay, with timbers arranged in crosses below their sills. Timbers studs have short braces which meet to create pointed arches beneath the eaves. The east gable end has a pair of glazed double doors with margin lights, and on the first floor there is a pair of casements beneath a pointed arch, flanked by single arched casements. The north-east angle of the elevation is chamfered and under-built, enabling vehicle access through the main gates. On the north elevation the eastern bay has been infilled with brick. The lower half of the next bay along is infilled with timber panelling, with glazing above, and holds a doorway into the building. The bay to the west of the centre is open, with a recessed doorway and panelling. The westernmost bay is obscured on the ground floor by a later shelter. A chimneystack rises between the easternmost two bays.
INTERIOR: there are four rooms to the ground floor; the easternmost of these, entered through large glazed doors, may have been the showroom. At the angles of the room the masonry of the elevations is exposed, and has been painted. Internal partitions throughout the building are formed of fielded panelling, and within this principal room is a panelled partition with glazing to the lobby to the west, and a panelled, half-glazed door. Within the lobby there are built-in panelled cupboards and shelving units, a panelled stair, and the floor is laid with slate flags. On the first floor the easternmost two bays, originally open, have been subdivided from two rooms. This appears to have been the smartest room, fully panelled, and with a fireplace, now with roughcast render on the chimneybreast. There is a large cupboard in the west wall. The western half of the first floor is not accessible from the east, and has a separate stair. It is lined in unpainted panelling.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: entrance to the yard is through a pair of gates at the south-east corner. There are low rubble masonry walls with intermittent piers, with timber railings (replacing iron) in between.
Date first listed: 5th June 2019

Historic England, 2019, Office and Showroom, Boundary Walls and Gatepiers at Berry and Vincent Builder's Yard, 18 Union Road, Crediton, Devon (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV363043.

Notification that the Office and Showroom, Boundary Walls and Gatepiers at Berry and Vincent Builder's Yard have been added to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. The building is now listed at Grade II.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #105752 ]
SDV345978Report - non-specific: Mid Devon District Council. 2003. Crediton Conservation Area Appraisal. Mid Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. Photo 39.
SDV362730National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2019. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1464174.
SDV362926Report - Survey: Cox, J. + Thorp, J. R. L.. 2015. Berry and Vincent, 18 Union Street, Crediton: Historic Building Assessment. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. K868. Digital.
SDV362976List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2019. Berry & Vincent site, 18 Union Road, Crediton, Devon. Notification of Application to Add Building to List. Email.
SDV363043List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2019. Office and Showroom, Boundary Walls and Gatepiers at Berry and Vincent Builder's Yard, 18 Union Road, Crediton, Devon. Notification of Addition to List. Email.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8083 - Historic Building Assessment: Berry and Vincent, 18 Union Street, Crediton (Ref: K868)

Date Last Edited:Nov 4 2022 3:17PM