The ship set to sail again


Ship - Credit: Archant

The iconic Ship building in Derriford, once a hive of industry as the bustling headquarters of the Plymouth Herald and Western Morning News, has been given a last-minute reprieve from the threat of demolition with the announcement that it has been acquired by a South West property developer.

Burrington Estates, which has made a name for itself preserving historic buildings and returning them to their former glory, has delighted Plymouth City Council and local campaigners by vowing to save this eye-catching glass-and-steel building.

The derelict building – designed by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw and nicknamed The Ship because of its distinctive shape – is set to be given a new lease of life as the main Plymouth site for Thrive Hubs, an innovative combination of flexible, inspiring and professional environments for new and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Two or three smaller centres around the city are due to launch imminently, with the aim of rolling the Thrive model out to other UK cities soon.

Mark Edworthy, Chairman of Burrington Estates and founder of Thrive Hubs, comments: “Saving Plymouth’s glass Ship building marks an investment of £5 million and we look forward to working alongside Plymouth City Council to ensure The Ship reaches its full potential within the city.

“Burrington Estates not only has a passion for the sensitive and appropriate renovation of historic and significant buildings, but a drive to breathe new life into them and The Ship very much fits into our overall company ethos. Our aim, as with all of our developments, is to restore them to their former glory and we are confident The Ship will be regarded as one of the places to do business in the city in no time at all.

“We are sure that Thrive Hubs will strike a chord with companies and entrepreneurs alike, and play an instrumental role in creating jobs and keeping business talent within the city – we also hope it will help attract talent to the region too.

“We are expecting a high level of interest in Thrive – a supportive eco-system for entrepreneurs and businesses to work in flexible, inspiring and professional environments – and would encourage anyone interested to get in touch to sign up quickly to be part of this exciting movement. We will be scheduling weekly visits culminating in a grand open day on 20 June – but we require people to pre-register for both due to the anticipated demand.”

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Burrington Estates has welcomed the move to make The Ship a Listed building, preserving it for future generations and turning it into a place the city can be proud of once more. The building is soon to be renamed by Burrington Estates as ‘The Spirit of Enterprise’ to reflect the new vision for the landmark building. Advanced discussions are under way with a number of businesses, including a leading South West manufacturer.

Paul Scantlebury, co-founder of Burrington Estates, comments:

“Burrington Estates has a strong track record in delivering large-scale construction and renovation projects, preserving the heritage of sites like Dean Clarke House, once the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, and now a pride of the city rather than a derelict, unloved site. In Ivybridge, we hope to create a new heart of the community, with a sensitive but ambitious multi-use housing and retail development at the historic Stowford Mill, while retaining the heritage of the site. Meanwhile, in Plymouth, we have taken Ocean Crescent and transformed it into a stylish and sought-after apartment building and continue to develop Burrington Business Park into a thriving place to do business.”

For more information about tenancy opportunities at The Ship, please contact Burrington Estates on or visit For all Thrive Hubs enquiries, please call 03333 447373 or visit