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Liskeard

A medieval market town which was a borough by the early 13th century and a ‘coinage town’ (for the taxation of tin produced in the region) from 1307. It developed as a market and industrial settlement in the later historic period and was an important commercial centre for the local mining industry in the 19th century.

Liskeard is the main urban centre in south east Cornwall and is situated in the district of Caradon. The town is connected to the main road network by the A38, the main route into Cornwall from Plymouth and the south coast of England. The A38 runs directly to the south of the built up area and then via the Glynn Valley north west to the A30 and Bodmin. Liskeard also has a main line rail service to Paddington and Penzance, and a branch line to Looe. The branch line is particularly important in the summer months carrying tourists to and from Looe, the principal holiday town in south east Cornwall. Liskeard lies within the Plymouth travel to work area. There is significant commuter traffic from Liskeard to Plymouth, which is about 30 minutes away by road. The town is also however a significant commercial and service centre whose shops, market and public facilities serve the surrounding very rural south-east corner of Cornwall. The town was largely untouched by the post-war redevelopment initiatives that substantially altered the central townscape of many other settlements in the region. Its medieval street pattern still survives as do a surprisingly large number of historic buildings, dating from the seventeenth century onwards. The key challenge is to safeguard the housing, employment, services and historic character within the town, to recognise its importance as a service centre for the surrounding agricultural hinterland, and to enable it to flourish in its own right and not become merely a dormitory town for Plymouth.

There has been a market at Liskeard since medieval times and this has always played a central role in the town’s fortunes. During the mid-nineteenth century the wealth of the town was boosted by the increased revenue from the mines on Bodmin Moor and the lead mines to the south. Following a brief period of decline resulting from the mines’ closure the town reverted to its former role as the major market town in the district.

Downloads:
The downloads offered below represent the different elements of the CSUS Liskeard Report including the core text, seven illustrative figures and five character area summaries. The majority of the downloads are large files (to maintain some quality of image resolution) and therefore may take time to download.
 

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CSUS Liskeard Report REPORT text detailing the results of the historic character study for the town of Liskeard. Bridget Gillard, Historic Environment Service..

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6406kb

Figure 1 - Location & Topography Map Map showing the location of Liskeard and its immediate topography.

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977kb
Figure 2 - Ordnance Survey 2nd Edition 1:2500 Map (c1907) Map showing the town of Liskeard in c1907.

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2243kb
Figure 3 - Historic Development Map Map showing the historic development and expansion of Liskeard.

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2191kb
Figure 4 - Historic Settlement Topography Map Map showing the historic topography of Liskeard with key areas of historic activity.

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1772kb
Figures 5 - Surviving Historic Components Maps Three maps showing the surviving historic buildings of Liskeard. Format type: PDF 862kb
Figure 6 - Urban Archaeological Potential Map Map showing the areas and sites of archaeological potential in Liskeard.

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747kb

Figure 7 - Character Areas Map Map showing the seven character areas identified by the survey of Liskeard.

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398kb

Character Area 1a. The Medieval Market 1 This area originally comprised the medieval commercial core and is still a busy shopping district. The area is characterised by narrow interconnecting streets lined with 18th and 19th century buildings many with their original shopfronts.

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865 kb
Character Area 1b. The Parade and its environs Originally a mid-nineteenth expansion of commerce and entertainment which developed around the market place. Although the market has relocated the area is still an important commercial centre and a place of public resort. It is characterised by the wide open space of the former market place fringed by a number of large Victorian buildings in an eclectic mix of styles.

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Character Area 2a Post Medieval Urban Expansion – The West Area Expansion into this area began as early as medieval times and there could still be fabric from this period within later buildings. However the major development took place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when a mix of commercial, domestic, light industrial buildings and chapels was built. A high proportion of the historic buildings still survive, although a number have been converted. The mixed economy persists and on market days in particular this part of Liskeard hums with life.

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Character Area 2b. The Castle and Post Medieval Urban Expansion – The East Area Like the western end the development of this area began with the expansion of the medieval core, and also with the development of the castle. Intensive development did not take place until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However the nature of the terrain and the existing medieval street patterns have resulted in an area of smaller scale buildings with mainly narrow street frontages. Less suitable for light industry the majority of buildings were originally shops and town houses. Although a few shops and offices can still be found in this area the majority of buildings are now domestic and the atmosphere is far quieter than on the western side.

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Character Area 3. Church Town The oldest part of the town, dominated by the fifteenth century church of St Martin. Originally the site of the first market place the area developed around the medieval streets into a somewhat self-contained community including the vicarage, shops and a pub reminiscent of a churchtown. Today the area is almost entirely residential and due to its topography, set on a hill side, seems slightly cut off from the central commercial core below.

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Character Area 4. Large Villas During the early to mid nineteenth century a ring of villas developed around the central urban core. Set within their own ornamental grounds these houses were commissioned by the newly wealthy professionals and businessmen working in Liskeard. They were designed by architects such as Wightwick and Foulston, and the locally prolific Henry Rice. The majority still survive, although many have been converted into offices and flats. The grounds, which include a large number of mature trees, form a major element in the townscape of Liskeard and the gardens of Westbourne House are an important public amenity.

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Character Area 5. Later Ribbon Development Apart from a few agricultural buildings this part of Liskeard remained undeveloped until the nineteenth century. Early development took the form of public buildings such as the workhouse and the gasworks both built in 1839. As the population expanded and the town became more prosperous the area became popular with the expanding middle class who wished to live outside the commercial core of the town. During the second half of the nineteenth century a large number of terraces, many designed by the local architect Henry Rice, were built along the roads into the town taking advantage of the greatly improved transport links, including the new railway built in 1859. Despite the increased volume of traffic and the loss of some buildings to the bypass, the area still largely retains its character as a high quality residential area.

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1357kb

   

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