Tavistock is a historic market town with the earliest market occupying the area bounded by King Street and Market Street. By the 18th century there were higher and lower market houses and the street names such as Barley Street and Butcher Street give the locations of specialist market areas. The process of centralisation of market activities began in 1835 with a major redevelopment of Tavistock taking place as the 7th Duke of Bedford ploughed back some of his huge profits from mining enterprises into new buildings, including The Cornmarket, which was built on the site of the Green Dragon.
Built as a Corn Market the building has two storeys. The upper floor is of squared rubble with granite windows openings and sash windows and the lower floor has granite Doric columns. The King Street elevation has eight bays with incised lettering to entablature.
Whilst originally built as a Corn Market, the building had a second life as the town’s first cinema. Walford’s Cinema Palace was opened in 1912, and was operated by Mr. C. Walford. By 1923, under new owners in was re-named Cinema. By 1947, the Cinema was operated by Archie Lewis Cinemas of Dawlish, and it was still under their control in 1954. It had closed by 1963. The Cornmarket was renovated by Wessex Heritage in 1992 and nowadays is home to a FatFace clothing store.
Historically rainwater goods have been made from lead or cast iron and painted black. Not only does cast iron provide an exceptional lifespan but they can be invaluable when dating or finding out the history of a building as rainwater heads
and other details were often decorated to contain dates or other identifying features such as the owner’s initials. If a building has the original pipe work then this should be repaired or replaced piecemeal when necessary. Decorative work should always be repaired in the first instance; if however it is beyond repair then it should be replaced in a like for like manner. Plastic rainwater goods are not normally suitable for historic buildings and as such should be replaced with cast iron. If you wish to add your own traditional decorative touches to rainwater heads it would be advisable to contact the local conservation officer who will be able to point you in the right direction.