Exeter and the question of Thomas Sharp's physical legacy

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Whilst Thomas Sharp's intellectual role as a pioneer in the history of town planning thought is difficult to dispute, the physical legacy of Sharp's work as a planner is more problematic. This is partly because Sharp's plans for specific plans were only partially implemented in the febrile context of British reconstruction planning in the 1940s, but it also reflects the fact that although aspects of design were set out, the physical implementation of Sharp's plans was largely left to others. Nevertheless, the issue of Sharp's physical legacy opens up questions about what might be expected from Sharp's planning practice, as well as judgements about the durability of those aspects of Sharp's plans that were implemented. In this paper, we explore issues relating to Sharp's physical legacy through a case study of the past, present and future of post-war development in Exeter, focusing especially on the Princesshay area, often cited as one of the most coherent expressions of Sharp's plan.

Keywords: Exeter; Exeter Phoenix; Princesshay; Thomas Sharp; conservation; legacy

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02665430802533126

Affiliations: Department of Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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