Paid Intern Joins Maison Dieu Conservation Team

Louise Davison

Louise Davison will be working on the conservation of a unique collection of furniture at Dover's Maison Dieu

Louise Davison, a conservation graduate of the City & Guilds of London Art School, has joined the Maison Dieu restoration project on a year-long paid internship in furniture conservation.

From January 2022, Louise will be a familiar face at the Maison Dieu in Dover as work gets underway to repair, restore and conserve a nationally significant collection of civic furniture designed by acclaimed Victorian neo-gothic architect, William Burges and his assistant, Edward Pullen.

The Grade I Listed Maison Dieu was the only civic commission by Burges, and the only intact building in England that still contains his decorative scheme, furniture, and fittings.

Burges chair

The internship was offered by Bainbridge Conservation in partnership with Icon, The Institute of Conservation as part of Dover District Council’s (DDC) £9m project to reawaken the Maison Dieu with the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

There will plenty of opportunities to meet Louise and the Bainbridge Conservation team at the Maison Dieu with Dover’s very own version of the “Repair Shop” where visitors will be able to attend a series of pop-up workshops to see the conservators at work.

Louise Davison said: “I am so excited to be working at the Maison Dieu. It’s a fascinating building and a great opportunity to work on William Burges’ furniture collection, and some really interesting paintings too.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting local people at the pop-up workshops which will give them an insight into how we conserve these incredibly significant items of furniture.”

Cllr Oliver Richardson, DDC’s cabinet member for community and corporate property, said: “Developing heritage and conservation skills is a key aim of the Maison Dieu restoration so it’s great to welcome Louise to the team.  We look forward to following her progress as she gets to work on conserving the Maison Dieu collections.”

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. 

 Maison Dieu Partners logo strip


Posted on 13 December 2021

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