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Arcaded Retaining Wall between Tor Hill Road and St Efride's Road

A Grade II Listed Building in Tormohun, Torbay

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Latitude: 50.4689 / 50°28'8"N

Longitude: -3.5374 / 3°32'14"W

OS Eastings: 290992

OS Northings: 64364

OS Grid: SX909643

Mapcode National: GBR QV.WW8F

Mapcode Global: FRA 37GT.CQZ

Entry Name: Arcaded Retaining Wall between Tor Hill Road and St Efride's Road

Listing Date: 21 August 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1420617

Location: Torbay, TQ2

County: Torbay

Electoral Ward/Division: Tormohun

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Torquay

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Torre All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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A retaining wall with double-height vaulted arcade of semi-circular arches, set into the cliff face. Mid-C19.


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.


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.

Reasons 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.

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