by Jo Clarke, Marketing and Communications Officer

The Elizabethan House has been a hive of activity since construction work began in late June. This is an exciting phase in our project to restore and reinterpret this historic gem on Plymouth’s Barbican. The work that’s currently taking place will secure the property for the long-term future.

Some of the key things that have been achieved by our contractors over the last four months include:

  • Excavating and digging trial pits for the new foundations that will support the rear walls and then pouring the concrete
  • Putting up scaffolding so all the external works can get underway
  • The removal of a number of windows so they can undergo specialist restoration
  • The removal of old render
  • Strengthening the floors – according to our lead architect getting the steel for this up the house’s small, windy staircase was certainly interesting!
Photo of foundations being dug in a historic house

Excavation work for the new foundations in progress. Any previous foundations at the back of the house have not been replaced as there weren’t any! The red sections are ground rock.

Concrete being poured to create foundations in a historic house

The first pour of the concrete for the new foundations.

Photo of exposed timber in a historic house

The front room on the top floor of the house with the render removed and the exposed timbers protected.

One of our Community Engagement Officers has been producing a regular video diary about the work at the house. Here are the links in case you’ve missed any of them. There will be more to follow in the coming months.

Work on site has also uncovered some items linked to domestic living in the kitchen area. These include smoking pipes, shards of pottery and animal bones. We hope these can be displayed in the house in the future.

Behind the scenes, research and consultation work are ongoing. The project team has also collaborated with 3D Design Craft students from Plymouth College of Art on a live brief. The students are taking inspiration from the Elizabethan House and the Barbican to create new pieces as part of their coursework and have been given a ‘crash course’ on the history, architecture and restoration of the property and the area.

Photo of two hands holding a brightly coloured ceramic shard

A piece of pottery during our archaeology handling session with 3D Design Craft students from Plymouth College of Art.

They’ve also enjoyed a site visit to the house, tried out the newly developed Mayflower Trail and experienced a handling session led by our Archaeology Curator. She used some of the ceramics that were discovered during archaeological digs on nearby Castle Street – an exciting insight into Plymouth’s place in international trade during medieval times.

Other recent visitors to the house include members staff from The Box who were keen to get an update on the research that’s taking place and discuss the visitor experience we’re hoping to create.

Jodie (pictured right), the competition winner from the online consultation survey we ran earlier this year, also visited for a sneak peek. We hope she enjoys spending her shopping vouchers too!

We’ll continue to share more updates from the Elizabethan House as this exciting restoration project continues.