Medway Council has announced that works to restore one of Rochester’s most treasured landmarks are due to resume this spring. We are very pleased with the news and happy to share their full release.
The £2million Heritage Lottery Funded project to conserve Eastgate House was paused in July last year due to the voluntary administration of the main contractor, Fairhurst Ward Abbots.
Medway Council has now awarded completion of the project to Caterham based construction company Buxton Building Contractors Limited. Founded in 1924, Buxton has over 90 years of experience in working with historic and listed buildings, and is also working on the Heritage Lottery Funded “Hidden Treasures, Fresh Expressions” project at Rochester Cathedral.
The works to Eastgate House are due for completion at the end of this year, and include essential repairs to the roof, windows and floors with new heating and lighting installed. Access for visitors will also be improved with a new lift to the upper floors and the reinstatement of a staircase that was removed more than a century ago.
Nearly three times its original size, the Grade I listed building was begun in 1591 for Peter Buck, Clerke of the Cheque at Chatham’s Royal Tudor Dockyard. Throughout the centuries it has also been a Victorian boarding school, the town museum and a family home. Much loved by Charles Dickens, it features in two of his best-known works, The Pickwick Papers and The Mystery of
The house will re-open to the public early in 2017 with exhibitions and displays telling the story of those who lived there, and space available for cultural activities and events.
Medway Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Community Services
Cllr. Howard Doe said: “We are delighted to appoint Buxton to complete the conservation of this wonderful building. Eastgate House is one of Medway’s most important historic sites, with not only an amazing past but an exciting future as a unique visitor attraction and a vibrant and valued community resource for generations to come”.
Buxton’s Contracts Manager David Bean added: “On a personal level, I am excited to have the privilege of working on such a magnificent building as Eastgate House. As a company, Buxton Building Contractors are delighted to be working with the team and all stakeholders to restore this Grade I listed building so that it retains it wonderful character and can display its historic links. The completed scheme will ensure that it is also brought up to the modern standard it so deserves for both the local community and visitors to enjoy. The scheme also fits well within Buxton’s extensive portfolio of working on the refurbishment of visitor attractions and our expertise in undertaking conservation projects, and we hope that the building will be of huge benefit to both the local community and the many visitors it will no doubt attract”.
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