A STREET which has not been used for 250 years is to reopen in Penryn.

Old Quay Ope led to the main wharves of the town from Broad Street, which was lined by impressive houses until the latter part of the 18th century.

However, it now runs through a Georgian house built in 1769 and past Merchants House, a 16th and 17th century house which has taken 12 years to restore.

House owner and restorer Stephen Tyrell explains: "The ope was there until about 1769 when the Georgian house was built along, rather than at right angles to the street - and so blocked the ope.

"We have put an arch through the Georgian House to provide the cobbled ope, all of which is new laid cobbles, although it looks centuries old. Originally the ope led down to what was the premier dock for loading mud on Commercial Road, before Exchequer Quay was built circa 1670."

Mr Tyrrell, who lives three miles from Penryn and says that the renovation has "cost a fortune", hopes that the sheltered part of the ope will become a free gallery where artists can display their work without having to pay rent.

He bought the plot at an auction in Penryn in late 2005 and says the "alleged" rear wing of the Georgian house, advertised as Victorian, is in fact part of the original burgage plot housing, from medieval times.

It was rebuilt in 1550 and again, with beams added, when the chimney and joists were added in 1630.

It includes the only surviving complete Jacobean decorative plaster ceiling in a town house in Cornwall - and many other features restored as an example of old house restoration.

Mr Tyrell added: "I have worked on historic buildings for many decades and so knew when bought at auction that the house was likely to be wonderful.

"The interior had been protected by three layers of board and boarding out, so that when I opened a corner of board I saw a little bulge of plaster which I recognised as a decorative rib - just like finding gold treasure in a field.

During his 40-year career Mr Tyrrell has received numerous civic awards including Best Country House Renovation in England in 2012. He has written 14 books on architecture and history, and lectured and written many articles on the buildings of Cornwall in particular.

By Monday this week, more than 100 people had accepted in writing that they will visit the property, which will be open to the public for one day only on Saturday, August 31 (11am to 3.30pm).

The house was previously a grocer's store for around 100 years, before becoming a building society and latterly a "combination of strange flats".

"There have been many problems along the way, but the restoration has been a stupid labour of love," he added.

Mr Tyrrell has converted the house so it is now two properties, one for rental and one most likely to be advertised on online marketplace Airbnb.

He also has plans to build a further three properties next to the existing ones.

Members of public can see for themselves the newly restored property on Saturday, August 31 (11am to 3.30pm).

Penryn mayor Charles Wenmouth will open the entrance to the street at Old Quay Ope.

Visitors can walk around the house and enjoy a welcome from Stephen and his wife Kate.

Pictures by artist Margi Bickford-Smith Ricardo will be on display.