SX4653 : Melville, Royal William Victualling Yard

taken 10 years ago, near to Cremyll, Cornwall, Great Britain

Melville, Royal William Victualling Yard
Melville, Royal William Victualling Yard
The fine building seen ahead here is called "Melville" named after Lord Melville who was First Lord of the Admiralty in 1827. This was the chief administration building for the Royal William Victualling Yard, and also served as a humble storehouse. Above its main arched entrance rises a clock and bell tower. This large building encloses a central square, called Melville Square, which is currently used for car parking. At the time of our visit (Oct 2010) Melville seemed to be one of the least renovated buildings on the site, with all the windows facing the internal courtyard boarded up. No doubt there are grand plans for it, and the sympathetic treatment of the other buildings of the RWVY bodes well for its future. As can be seen, directly in front of "Melville" is The Basin, an internal dock serving the Yard. A pontoon or jetty juts out for boats to moor alongside, and a long wood-decked ramp ascends from this towards the road in front of the arched entrance of "Melville".
As with all the other fine buildings on the site, it is Grade I listed and a rather scanty copy of the EH listing for this building is given here LinkExternal link
As the sun was behind this building, the sky is rather bleached out I'm afraid, and little detail can be made out on the roofline. However a close-up of the clock tower can be seen here SX4653 : Clock & Bell Tower, Melville which is the next photo in the RWVY sequence.
Royal William Victualling Yard

The Royal William Victualling Yard occupies virtually the whole of the Devil's Point peninsula - about 18 acres - to the south of Stonehouse within the conurbation of Plymouth.
The Yard was given Royal Assent on June 3rd 1824 during the reign of King George IV, but was not completed until 9 years later by which time George had died and his brother William had become King William IV. So the Yard was named after this latter monarch on 3rd December 1833.
The architects of this fine set of buildings (much admired by the architectural historian, Pevsner) were Sir John Rennie the Younger (1794-1874) and Philip Richards, and the contractor was Hugh McIntosh. The cost of the building was estimated at 2,000,000 which in the early C19th was a colossal amount of money, equivalent to billions today.
The original purpose of the Yard, as its name suggests, was to supply victuals - that is food, drink and provisions - for the Royal Navy. With the burgeoning British Empire in the C19th, the Navy grew in size dramatically, and so therefore did its requirement for victuals. This Yard therefore played an important part in "oiling the wheels" of the vast machine that was the Royal Navy. Not only food items but uniforms and all the general paraphernalia required by the Navy's ships (other than munitions etc.) was stored here. In addition the yard contained a brewery, a slaughterhouse, mill, bakehouse and, essentially, a huge cooperage. Barrels made by the coopers were required in vast quantities to store the provisions on board the ships - not just liquids such as beer, but salted meats etc.
As the character of the Royal Navy changed over the decades, so the Yard had to adapt; and during the C20th, with the decline in Britain's maritime supremacy, the Yard suffered a similar decline. In 1992 the Navy gave up ownership of the land and buildings and they passed into private hands. Since then the Grade I listed buildings have had numerous uses, but are now undergoing major renovations and conversion into apartments, businesses, restaurants and galleries.

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SX4653, 644 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Monday, 25 October, 2010   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 3 November, 2010
Military buildings (converted)   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SX 4612 5355 [10m precision]
WGS84: 50:21.7012N 4:9.8885W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SX 4609 5363
View Direction
South-southeast (about 157 degrees)
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