Dover District Council Partners With The Landmark Trust To Develop Proposals For The Maison Dieu

Mayors Parlour ceiling2 (002)

Former Mayor's Parlour ceiling at the Maison Dieu - picture by Matt Emmett

Dover District Council has teamed up with the Landmark Trust to develop proposals for self-catering holiday accommodation in the former Mayor’s Parlour at the Maison Dieu.  The Trust will work with the Council and partners to develop more detailed proposals as part of the second round funding bid to be submitted to the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Spring 2020.

The Landmark Trust is one of Britain’s leading building conservation charities.  With the help of individual supporters and grant-making bodies, the charity saves historic buildings in danger of being lost forever and offers them a vibrant future by making them available for self-catering holidays and to the public through regular free open days. Local examples of Landmark Trust properties include The Grange at Ramsgate, Augustus Pugin’s former house, and The Prospect Tower near Faversham.

The Landmark Trust’s involvement with the project will help to ensure use of currently underused or vacant spaces, enable access to the public on short breaks and help to protect and enhance some of the precious surviving interiors at the Maison Dieu.

Dover District Council received initial National Lottery support* in 2018 for the restoration of the historic Maison Dieu in Dover and is currently developing detailed proposals.  Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to restore key parts of the Grade I listed building and Scheduled Monument, including the fantastic interiors designed by Victorian architect, William Burges.  The vision is to create a thriving cultural venue open to the community and visitors, and, complementing Dover’s many heritage assets, to build a stronger visitor economy. 

Development funding of £427,400 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help Dover District Council progress the plans.  This is the first phase in a bid for £4.7 million from the HLF, which it is proposed will be matched with £3 million from Dover District Council. 

The project has been developed in conjunction with the Dover Society and Dover Town Council, and includes essential conservation work to the internationally significant neo-gothic interiors of the Maison Dieu, creating a new visitor entrance to the Connaught Hall and improving disability access throughout the building, and making the building more sustainable by bringing redundant spaces back into commercial use.  This will include restoring the Mayor’s Parlour as a self-catering holiday let, and creating a unique café space in the Old Gaol. 

Dr Anna Keay OBE, Director of the Landmark Trust, said: “The Maison Dieu is a building of extraordinary historical importance, both in its medieval origins and for its glorious, rediscovered William Burges interiors. The Landmark Trust is thrilled at the prospect of taking on a part of the building, and so playing a small role in its repair and revival.”

Cllr Trevor Bartlett, DDC’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Property, said: “This collaboration with the Landmark Trust is a fantastic step forward in developing the proposals for the Maison Dieu. Not only will this help with ensuring the Maison Dieu is better used and vibrant, but it will add to the regeneration of the town centre.”

Notes to editors:

About the Landmark Trust

The Landmark Trust is one of Britain’s leading building conservation charities. With the help of individual supporters and grant-making bodies, we save historic buildings in danger of being lost forever and offer them a vibrant future by making them available for self-catering holidays. The lettings income supports their maintenance and survival in our culture, society and landscape. Full details of Landmark’s 202 buildings are available from the website or by phoning Booking Enquires on 01628 825 925. 

About the Maison Dieu

The Maison Dieu is owned by Dover District Council.  It was upgraded to a Grade I listing by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in 2017. New research has revealed that the building is far more important than anyone suspected due largely to hidden decorative work by the flamboyant Victorian architect, William Burges (1827-1881), the full extent of which has only recently been discovered.  See the Maison Dieu pages, or follow the Maison Dieu on Twitter or Instagram. 

About the National Heritage Lottery Fund

* HLF heritage grant applications are assessed in two rounds. The Maison Dieu has initially been granted round one development funding of £427,442 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £4.7m. 

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.

Posted on 16 September 2019

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