Britannia Royal Naval College

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  • Gardens
Post Code:
Local Authority:
South Hams
OS Grid Ref:
SX 875 520
Map no.:
Landranger 202

Britannia Royal Naval College has a late C19 and early C20 landscape designed by H E Milner as a setting for new college buildings designed in 1897 by Aston Webb. The Britannia scheme is a good example of an institutional landscape laid out by one of the leading late C19 landscape designers. Documentary evidence indicates that Milner worked in close collaboration with the College architect, Aston Webb, in order to ensure both an aesthetically effective composition and a site suited to its practical purpose. Milner and Webb decided jointly on the site for the College buildings, choosing a position which would be protected from northerly winds (on a potentially exposed site), and which, with a backdrop of mature trees, would provide an imposing setting for the buildings which when seen from Dartmouth and the River Dart. Milner's landscape scheme provides interesting parallels with public park design, with a carefully engineered circuit drive linking the various features of the site - in this case the terrace and parade ground south-east of the College, various facilities to the north of the College, a picturesque woodland walk, playing fields, and the Cadets' Hospital. Private gardens were provided for the Captain's House, the Dean's House, and the Hospital. Some elements of an existing CIS and C19 landscape associated with a house known as Mount Boone (demolished c 1900) were retained and integrated into Milner's scheme (these included the kitchen garden, some plantations and the woodland walks above Old Mill Creek).  The 1904 OS records the College landscape as implemented. This corresponds closely both to a report on the site written by Milner in 1898, and to what survives on the ground today. While C20 development has taken place, this has generally been concentrated to the north of the original College buildings, in an area which may have been envisaged for expansion by Milner and Webb. As a result, the impact of such changes on the overall landscape is not significant. Britannia was one of the most prestigious public projects of the Edwardian period and is a remarkably complete survival of the collaboration of two of the leading designers of the period.

Britannia Royal Naval College is of national significance and should be added to the Historic England Register at Grade II.

Listed Buildings

Britannia Royal Naval College listed Grade II.


Cherry & Pevsner: The Buildings of England — Devon, 1989: 325

50.3570117, -3.5822843