Poltimore House

It was agreed by Arts Council England (ACE) that £20,000 of its grant for the Dunsland Feasibility Study could be used to assess other options and an independent Panel of Advisors was set up under the Chairmanship of Simon Timms of Devon County Council (DCC) in April 1998.

Image: Proposals for CCANW at Poltimore by Richard Murphy Architects in association with Simpson & Brown Architects, 2001.

The Choice of Poltimore

13 different options were identified across Devon and these were narrowed to three which were evaluated in detail. One of these was suggested by the National Trust; Poltimore House, a grade 11* listed building 8 kilometres north-east of Exeter, then owned by the Buildings at Risk Trust (BART), which East Devon District Council (EDDC), Devon County Council (DCC) and English Heritage (EH) had striven to save for over a decade. The land had been owned by the Bampfylde family for over 600 years, with the house developed in stages from the late 16th century. The Panel unanimously recommended Poltimore as the best option because of the advantages it offered in accessibility, financial viability and concept ‘fit’.

Poltimore House on Google Maps

Poltimores, seat of Sir George Warwick Bamfylde. Coloured engraving 1827.

See also:

Poltimore: Steering Group

On 30 November 1998 a new Steering Group met under the Chairmanship of Alan Payne, Principal Planning Officer, EDDC along with representatives from EDDC Arts and Finance, DCC Development and Historic Buildings, Jem Southam (one of our first Trustees) from the University of Plymouth and Val Millington, on sabbatical from SWA. On average, monthly meetings of the Steering Group were held until the first meeting of CCANW Trustees in January 2001. Atlantic Consultants were appointed to draft an initial stage one Feasibility Study, to which Val made additions.

Bronwen Gwillim, then Acting Director of Visual Arts SWA, sent her apologies to that first meeting but was able to attend subsequent meetings in January and February 1999. At the February meeting, Peter Young took over as Chairman (soon becoming another of our first Trustees). Returning from sabbatical as SWA Director of Visual Arts in April 1998, Val remained an observer at meetings and stressed the need to address the new Lottery criteria for capital projects for which applications would be open in spring 2000; for example, to be of national and international significance. She was able to attend most meetings until December 1999 when she left SWA. Judith Robinson and David Drake, Director of Visual and Media Arts, represented SWA at meetings held from January 2000 to the end of the year, standing in for Ceri Johnston on a couple of occasions in February and November 2001.

Besides myself as Project Officer and my wife Jill as Administrator, other members of the Steering Group included the curators Mike Tooby and Zoë Shearman, teacher Margery Howard, environmentalist Paul Gompertz, artist Lesley Kerman, architect Peter Lacey, consultants Tom Trevor and Russell Southwood.


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