Brunel Manor, Torbay
Description: Brunel Manor
Date Listed: 8 June 1988
English Heritage Building ID: 390814
OS Grid Reference: SX9181667852
OS Grid Coordinates: 291816, 67852
Latitude/Longitude: 50.5005, -3.5268
Location: Teignmouth Road, Torquay, Torbay TQ1 4SF
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SX9167 TEIGNMOUTH ROAD, Watcombe
885-1/5/457 (West side)
08/06/88 Brunel Manor
Large house, now conference centre. c1870 by J Watson for JR
Crompton, a Lancaster paper manufacturer. Ground plan said to
conform to design of cellars by William Burn for Isambard Kingdom
Local grey crazed limestone rubble with Bathstone dressings;
gabled slate roof with cusped bargeboards; stacks with
clustered brick shafts, mostly diagonally-set, with stone
bands and projecting cornices.
PLAN: Set in extensive grounds. Originally L-plan, the main
range double-depth with entrance on north side and garden
elevation to south; north-west dining room to service wing.
Later ballroom added to east end of main range. Entrance into
heated hall with large stair hall to its west.
EXTERIOR: 2 and 3 storeys. Deep eaves with moulded brackets;
rock-faced quoins; windows mostly glazed with 2-pane plate
glass sashes. Garden (south) elevation of main range with a
symmetrical 5-window front, the end bays broken forward and
gabled, small gable in centre bay. 2-storey canted bays to
left and right with hipped slate roofs with decoratively-cut
slates; ground-floor bays with similar slate canopies on
timber brackets. Attic windows with deep tympana with stone
carving. Centre windows also have carved tympana under
polychromatic arches; 2 gableted attic dormers.
To the left the front is set back with 2 gables to the front
and a C20 single-storey addition, moving forward a 6-bay
verandah with cast-iron columns with cusped timber brackets.
Single-storey canted bay to right of front.
The north (entrance) elevation is more irregular.
3-storey-and-attic entrance tower with a steep hipped roof,
gabled to the front, 2 windows wide. Moulded arched doorway
with shafts with massive porch canopy with diamond pattern
slates on massive timber brackets with cast-iron balustrade
with trefoil-headed motifs. Original 2-leaf door. Tower has
paired window, the second stage with moulded arches below a
tympanum with a carved roundel.
To right of the entrance tower the front is gabled over a
5-light arched stair window with quatrefoils below. Pair of
wrought-iron globe lamps to stone bases flank entry.
The front of the service wing, to the right, is irregular and
in a slightly plainer style. Ballroom addition to the left has
8 gabled roof dormers with cusped bargeboards and blind
segmental-headed arcading below; projecting lateral stack. The
south side of the ballroom is obscured by a C20 addition.
INTERIOR: Very complete apart from alterations required by the
fire officer which have concealed some features. Entrance
hallway with heavy doorcases including trefoil-headed friezes
and nail-head enrichment; pine panelled doors; original
chimneypiece and plaster cornices. Stair hall with coved
ceiling has good open-well stair with turned balusters, a
moulded handrail and brass lampholders. Other fine rooms have
plaster cornices and various chimneypieces of diverse designs.
Upper floors retain original doors and chimneypieces. Ballroom
addition has inserted ceiling but preserves elaborate
A handsome High Victorian house with electic detail,
preserving most of its original fittings. The house stands on
a site of one designed by William Burn for Isambard Kingdom Brunel,
which was not (apart from some ground works) built.
(Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Devon: London: 1952-1989:
Listing NGR: SX9181667852
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.