A £400,000 programme of repairs to the Maison Dieu in Dover is getting underway ahead of the £9m lottery funded restoration.

The repairs are expected to take up to 27 weeks and will ensure that the Grade I Listed building is structurally sound and watertight.

Funding for the repairs has come from Dover District Council’s capital programme and is in addition to the £4.1m already committed by the Council to the restoration of the Maison Dieu.

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The National Lottery Heritage Fund is providing £4.27m towards the restoration, with other funders including The Wolfson Foundation, Dover Town Council, and the Dover Society.

The restoration work includes the 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. 

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 2024 the Maison Dieu will be permanently open to the public for the first time in its 800-year history. 

Roger Walton, DDC’s Strategic Director (Operations and Commercial), said: “We’re looking forward to starting work on the restoration of the iconic Maison Dieu later this year.  These important repairs will ensure that the building’s external fabric is secure and able to protect the precious gems that we’ll be uncovering inside the building once the restoration work starts.” 

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By Ed