- £6.5 million funding
- Three year project
- Improved accessibility
- Undercrofts open to visitors for the first time
- New cafe & shop areas
The grand doors of Torre Abbey closed in 2005 for an extensive £6.5 million restoration.
The restoration was enabled by a substantial grant of £4.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as contributions from Torbay Council, English Heritage, the Friends of Torre Abbey, the Wolfson Foundation, Museum, Libraries and Archives Commission, the Garfield Weston Foundation and Renaissance South West.
Torre Abbey is Torquay’s oldest building and is sited in a very prominent position overlooking Torre Abbey meadows and the seafront promenades beyond. It is a large building with a floor area of nearly 600 square metres, divided into 122 rooms, on twenty levels with 256 individual steps. It consists of two Grade I listed buildings, four Grade II listed buildings, an historic garden and is a scheduled ancient monument of national importance.
The fabric of the building had been in a poor and deteriorating condition since the 1840s. Experts all agreed that unless a comprehensive programme of repairs and alterations could take place that the future of this historic resource could be in jeopardy. For example, the roughcast renders added in the early 20th century were cement-based and were preventing the walls from breathing, causing structural timbers to rot.
The first and most important phase of the Torre Abbey Project is now complete. It has not only protected the oldest parts of the building, it has vastly improved visitor access and is enabling visitors to see parts of the Abbey that had previously been inaccessible.
- The west range of the building has been fully restored. This is the oldest part of the Abbey and is archaeologically and architecturally extremely important.
- A new visitor entrance has been opened under the Abbot’s Tower and a new visitor route developed that will highlight the stunningly restored cloister garden and the atmospheric medieval undercrofts.
- Visitor facilities throughout the building have been improved with new shop, café, toilets and car parking.
- The attraction has a new lease of artistic life with a the launch of contemporary exhibitions, workshops and arts events in the Abbey’s galleries.
A complex team of architects, structural engineers archaeologists, designers and surveyors have worked together to successfully achieve the first phase of the Torre Abbey Project. Future phases will redevelop the Abbey’s galleries and restore the historic gardens.
We hope that, as you explore the Abbey, we can reveal the depths of this building’s history through the fascinating story of its restoration.