National Lottery support to unlock stories of Elizabethan House

Plymouth’s Elizabethan House has been awarded initial support for National Lottery funding to help the city tell its important story as part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations.

The project has been awarded a development grant of £142,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable the project plans to progress. A full National Lottery grant of £531,900 will be applied for at a later date.

The funding will enable local people to explore the house’s past and shape its future.

A £2.13 million restoration and interpretation programme for the Grade II listed house is already being funded and managed by the Council but the new National Lottery money will enable its incredible history to be brought to life.

Cabinet member for Culture, Councillor Peter Smith said: “This building has survived for over 400 years. It was a home to the city’s merchants and seafarers, fisherman and dressmakers. Now we can tell their stories properly for the first time.

“This is a special building and is in many ways the ultimate representation of the city’s maritime, architectural, economic, social and political history.”

The house was built around 1600 in a new street by a man with interests in the New World. John Sparkes’ ‘New Street’ was created in 1584 – the year Plymouth ships set out to establish England’s first American colony at Roanoke.

The funding will enable local residents of all ages to find out more about the house and the people who lived in it. Historians, architects and archivists will lead them through the centuries of plans, maps and deeds. Together they’ll shape a new visitor experience for generations to come.

The house will reopen in 2020 with a new immersive interpretation enabling visitors to share historical adventures based on the house’s story and the lives of its residents.

Chair of Mayflower 400 Adrian Vinken OBE said: “This house was here when the Mayflower left for the New World in 1620. It has seen story after story during its four centuries of upheaval and change. These stories are now all just waiting to be told and National Lottery players are helping us to work with people of all ages and walks of life to tell them.”

The house refurbishment is part of the Mayflower 400 commemorations and will complement The Box’s Mayflower exhibition, the proposed Mayflower heritage trails around the city and the existing Mayflower Museum.

The Elizabethan House is one of five projects to which the Council committed £5 million capital funds last February as part of the Mayflower 400 programme.