Naval History

Historic Naval Building Gets Rescue Grant Worth Nearly £500,000

Plymouth's Melville building, a location for ITV's 'Hornblower' series, has received almost £500,000 to continue pre-COVID rescue work.

An early 19th Century building that served as a factory and supply depot for the Royal Navy will receive almost £500,000 in restoration funding.

Vital restoration work on Plymouth's Melville building in spring 2020 was impacted by COVID-19 but a cash injection of £489,110 by Historic England will now see the works continue.

A Grade I listed Georgian building, the Melville stands at the centre of Royal William Yard – believed to be the best-preserved collection of naval buildings in the UK.

The funding comes as part of the Government's £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.

Built between 1828 and 1832, the three-storey Melville building once represented the might of the Royal Navy but fell into disrepair once the Royal William Yard was decommissioned in 1992.

Many surrounding buildings were restored in a subsequent transformation project, which turned the area into a multi-use visitor destination – filled with cafes and restaurants.

The Melville building in the 1970s (Picture: Historic England).

Despite becoming a popular location for TV dramas, including ITV’s 'Hornblower', the Melville is one of the last buildings in the yard to be renovated.

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "The Melville building in Plymouth is an important example of our country's past and how it continues to define culture in our towns and cities today.

"I am pleased that through the Culture Recovery Fund we are protecting heritage, saving jobs, and ensuring these places are preserved for generations to come."

The grant will enable the Melville's owners to continue vital rescue work to the building's structure, with the aim of bringing it back to life as a centre for business, arts and the community.

Cover image: The Melville building in Plymouth (Picture: Historic England).