Celebrate a Maison Dieu Christmas - It's Going to be a Cracker!

Victorian Christmas card - A Merry Christmas

Saturday, 4 December 2021 (12 noon to 4pm)

Discover how Yuletide has been celebrated at Dover’s Maison Dieu (Dover Town Hall) in years gone by on Saturday, 4 December from 12 noon to 4pm as part of a day of free festive town centre celebrations for Dover’s Winter Light Up event.

Find out about medieval Christmas customs, children’s party games, World War Two dances, the humorous story of the Christmas pudding (which had an Edwardian audience convulsing with laughter) and why William Gladstone was snowballed at the Maison Dieu!

Visitors young and old are encouraged to get creative - making a Maison Dieu themed cracker or winter snow-scene - and enjoy a glass of mulled wine or alcohol-free punch and a mince pie. 

They’ll also be able to see progress on the Lottery-funded Reawakening the Maison Dieu project and find out about our action-packed 2022 activity programme and how to get involved.

As well as the Maison Dieu event, there are a whole host of festive activities taking place in Dover town centre on Saturday, 4 December, including a Christmas market in the Ladywell car park behind the Maison Dieu, raku pottery-making at the Biggin Hall, and a Christmas lantern procession from Pencester Gardens.

There will be free parking in Dover District Council (DDC) car parks all day on Saturday, 4 December to encourage people to shop local on Small Business Saturday. Free parking in DDC car parks will also be available from 23-28 December 2021 and 1-3 January 2022.

Cllr Oliver Richardson, DDC cabinet member for community and corporate property, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Dover’s Winter Light Up event by throwing open the doors to the Maison Dieu to show people how this wonderful building has been at the heart of festive celebrations in Dover for centuries.

“With free parking in DDC car parks for the day it’s a great opportunity for the community to get into the festive spirit, and to support local traders.”

 Maison Dieu Partners logo strip

Notes to editors:

About the ‘Reawakening the Maison Dieu’ project 

  1. The £9.1m reawakening of the Grade I Listed Maison Dieu will see the restoration of internationally significant decorative schemes by the renowned Victorian neo-Gothic architect, William Burges, a new street-level visitor entrance to the Connaught Hall, along with improved access throughout the building.
  2. The project creates a sustainable future for the Maison Dieu by bringing redundant spaces back into commercial use, including restoring the Mayor’s Parlour as a holiday let in conjunction with The Landmark Trust, and a unique new café in the space once occupied by Victorian gaol cells.
  3. Once complete in 2024 the Maison Dieu will be permanently open to the public for the first time in its 800-year history and contributing to the creation of a heritage quarter in Dover town centre.
  4. Project funders/partners include the National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Wolfson Foundation, The Landmark Trust, Dover Town Council, and the Dover Society.
Posted on 25 November 2021

For media enquiries, Email: pr@dover.gov.uk