The Guildhall Gateway Project
Tavistock Guildhall is open for visits and bookings from Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm.
Tavistock is the eastern gateway and ‘urban jewel’ of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. At its heart is the Victorian Guildhall (built in 1848) which contains one of the earliest examples in the country of a purpose-built combined courtroom and police station. The Guildhall exemplifies how the Dukes of Bedford used their mineral wealth to create an outstanding example of a planned metal mining town with magnificent public buildings. The Gateway Centre project will restore this iconic ‘At Risk’, Grade II* listed building and ensure its viable long-term use.
In February 2015, Tavistock Town Council, supported by Tavistock Heritage, made an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for grant funding towards the restoration of the Guildhall, a project with a total value of around £1.7 million. After successfully navigating both application rounds, the project received 'Permission to Start' from the HLF in September 2018, and construction work began in late summer of 2019.
The project is a key step in the implementation of strategic plans for the Guildhall and for Tavistock’s wider heritage, which have been developed over the last decade through extensive public consultation by a broad-based partnership of public, private and voluntary sector organisations.
The Guildhall is, therefore, a particularly fitting location for a Gateway Heritage Centre that will introduce visitors to Tavistock’s role in both the World Heritage Site and the wider South West mining landscape, including Dartmoor. Through interactive displays visitors can learn about Tavistock’s international architectural and historical significance and be stimulated to explore the town and nearby heritage sites either on their own or by participating in one of the activities provided by the Guildhall staff and volunteers. These heritage facilities are managed by the Tavistock Heritage Trust, who also deliver a coordinated, diverse, experiential learning, events and volunteering programme which enables more people to visit the town and engage with its heritage.