Insight / 24-Oct-23

Vision for Penzance’s Iconic Market House

Written by Laura Highton
Vision for Penzance’s Iconic Market House

In the heart of Penzance lies the historic, Grade I listed Market House building, which was acquired last year by the Penzance Regeneration Company (a not-for-profit company established by the Penzance Town Deal board) as part of their vision to transform the vacant east end into a vibrant mixed used facility.

The building was originally completed in 1838, and its prominent dome forms a defining landmark of the Penzance skyline. The building is currently split into two sections; with an operating Lloyds Bank branch in the west section and the vacant east end that overlooks Market Jew Street.

Existing east building elevation, including Humphry Davy statue
Existing east building elevation, including Humphry Davy statue

The transformation project will breathe new life into the building through the creation of a world-class inspired community and food hub and the adaptations will make the building fully accessible.

The project forms an integral part of the Penzance Town Investment Plan and will be supported by the first share of the Town Deal fund which has been released to Penzance by the Government. This £3.6 billion of funds, is allocated to towns across the UK to encourage economic growth and regeneration.

We have commenced early stage planning and design work, including research into the physical and social history of the building, which has led to a collation of historic images, drawings, paintings, and original building plans.

The building has had many uses over the years; originally designed as a market hall and guildhall, with prison cells below, it has also been used as a Corn Exchange, theatre, and retail facility. Dramatic alterations to the west end in 1925 preceded its use as a bank.

Detailed building surveys are being carried out, including a laser and photogrammetry survey to digitally record the building’s ornate, historic features and understand its condition.

More information available here.

Existing North building elevation
Drawing 1838, courtesy of Morrab Library, Penzance.
Image 1925, courtesy of Morrab Library, Penzance.

"It’s really energising to be involved with a project that has been initiated and led by the local community. We look forward to conserving and bringing to life the impressive spaces within the building to showcase the very best of local food producers and businesses. We are excited to help write the next chapter in the life of this remarkable building which lies at the physical and social heart of the town".

Chris Turner, Director at Poynton Bradbury Architects

Meet the Author

Laura Highton
BSc(Hons)  MArch  ARB  RIBA-SCA Laura joined Poynton Bradbury Architects in... Read More

BSc(Hons)  MArch  ARB  RIBA-SCA

Laura joined Poynton Bradbury Architects in 2023 and brings a wealth of experience to the practice. Her passion for architecture is focussed on creating sustainable, adaptable, and vibrant spaces thar respond to their surroundings and context. She has skills in contemporary design and has developed an architectural sensitivity in her approach to working in historic settings.

Registered as a RIBA Specialist Conservation Architect, Laura’s expertise lies in the adaptive re-use of existing buildings, and she is particularly skilled at bringing new life and contemporary design into historic buildings and settings. She has a comprehensive knowledge of conservation practice and extensive experience of applying this within historic buildings.

Laura’s portfolio is varied and includes large scale community and public buildings such as museums, visitor centres and libraries up to the value of £25m. Alongside this she has worked on intricate and smaller scale developments including bespoke new-build residential projects and one-off house renovations.

Email Laura

Latest journal posts