Inside the Mayor's Parlour at Dover's historic Maison Dieu

Inside the Mayor’s Parlour at Dover’s historic Maison Dieu 2

In partnership with the Landmark Trust and Arte Conservation Thursday, 18 April 2024, 7:30pm to 8:45pm. 

Join us online to discover the history of the fascinating Mayor’s Parlour and the Maison Dieu as a whole. 

Learn about the painstaking work by Arte Conservation to reinstate Victorian art-architect and designer William Burges’ Neo-gothic decorative scheme and find out about exciting plans to open it in 2025 as a welcoming Landmark Trust holiday let.  

The Mayor’s Parlour forms part of the Victorian extension to the Maison Dieu (Dover Town Hall). It includes the remains of the original 1883 decorative scheme, which has been rediscovered under layers of modern paint and wallpaper. 

This is currently being reinstated by wall paintings conservators Arte Conservation of Faversham, who are also repainting Burges’ decorative scheme in the nearby Connaught Hall. 

The Mayor’s Parlour ceiling includes an impressive repeat-pattern design of gilded flowers, foliage and bird motifs, while high on the walls is a colourful frieze of wyvern dragons, parrots and butterflies.  

The walls of the room also include several painted niches, which an article in the 1883 Builder magazine suggests once held the Virtues.  

The online event will see Maison Dieu Engagement Officer Martin Crowther set the scene with a brief history of the Maison Dieu, which began over 800 years ago as a medieval pilgrim hospital, before focusing on the Mayor’s Parlour.  

Participants will find out what Dover mayors got up to in this impressive space, hear the story of an intriguing 1930s postcard found beneath the floorboards, and discover evidence of a near-miss by a WW2 German shell. 

Tom Organ, head of Arte Conservation, will then share some of the secrets and challenges of the Maison Dieu wall paintings restoration, including detailed photographs of the process and techniques used by his expert team in reinstating a partially missing decorative scheme.  

Our final speaker, Alastair Dick-Cleland of the Landmark Trust, will highlight the future use of the Mayor’s Parlour and adjacent rooms as an impressive new addition to the charity’s portfolio of self-catering holiday lets available to everyone. 

Tickets are free, with an option to donate £5 or £10, which will be split equally between the Landmark Trust and the Maison Dieu.   

To book your place please visit  

Notes to editors: 

About the Reawakening the Maison Dieu Project 

The £10.5m reawakening of the Grade I Listed Maison Dieu sees the restoration of internationally significant decorative schemes by the renowned Victorian neo-Gothic architect, William Burges, and a new street-level visitor entrance to the Connaught Hall, along with improved access throughout the building. 

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. 

Once complete in 2025, the Maison Dieu will be permanently open to the public for the first time in its 800-year history. 

Project funders/partners include the National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Wolfson Foundation, The Landmark Trust, Dover District Council, Dover Town Council, and the Dover Society. 

 Inside the Mayor’s Parlour at Dover’s historic Maison Dieu logos


Posted on 05 April 2024

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