A retaining wall with double-height vaulted arcade of semi-circular arches, set into the cliff face. Mid-C19.
Reason for Listing
The arcaded retaining wall is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural and engineering interest: an unusual and largely intact example of a mid-C19 retaining wall designed in the Italianate style as a double-height arcaded structure to form a prominent feature within the wider landscape; * Historic interest: now set amidst late C19 and mid-C20 housing, it originally formed part of the mid-C19 Lauriston Hall estate and has added interest for the late C19 incorporation of a rockwork in the upper arcade, by Robert Veitch & Sons of Exeter.
The arcaded retaining wall to the cliff face of Tor Hill was erected in the mid-C19 to provide a garden terrace for the owners of Lauriston Hall, a villa commissioned by Sir John Theophilus Lee in the 1830s. In the 1880s the upper arcade was adapted to include a rockwork which featured a series of grottoes, caves and a waterfall, and was planted with alpines, ferns and climbers. The rockwork was designed by the landscape gardener, F W Meyer and executed by Robert Veitch & Sons of Exeter. Lauriston Hall was largely destroyed by bombing in 1942 and subsequently demolished. The retaining wall is the only surviving feature of the estate.
A retaining wall with double-height vaulted arcade of semi-circular arches, set into the cliff face. Mid-C19. MATERIALS: constructed of limestone, with brick and stone dressings. PLAN: the arcades, which face south-west, form the straight section of the feature at the rear of No. 11 and No. 9 St Efride’s Road. The blind retaining wall then continues to the north-east before curving to the south-east to form another straight section of wall, again facing south-west, to the rear of No. 7 and No. 5 St Efride’s Road. Steps, from the terrace above, provide access to the upper arcade. EXTERIOR: the principal south-west face of the arcade is arranged as two tiers of nine, semi-circular, vaulted arches rising from ground level at the foot of the cliff. There is a stone balustrade to the base of each tier. The upper tier of arches has vermiculated keystones below a corbelled-out cornice. Above, at the ground level of the top of the cliff, is a stone balustrade which includes square piers with pyramidal caps, and vase-shaped balusters. The balustrade continues to the north-east and south-west above a plain limestone retaining wall with a corbelled cornice.
INTERIOR: not inspected (2014) although there is understood to be a room at the right-hand end of the covered walkway of the upper arcade.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.