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Dickens house nets £1.3m Lottery cash boost

Tue 18 December 2012, 9:04 pm

An imposing Tudor house on Rochester High Street, immortalised in two Charles Dickens novels, has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1.28 million.

The funding award for Eastgate House will contribute towards a £2.1 million conservation and development programme aimed at both preserving the building’s character and improving its tourist facilities. It is also expected to create new jobs.

New heating and lighting will be installed, and a new lift will be constructed at the back of the Grade I listed late 16th Century house, which featured as “Westgate” in Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and as “the Nun’s House” in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Medway Council will contribute a further £700,000 towards the plans, which will also see the creation of a new multi-use community space, and the reinstallation of a staircase removed at the turn of the century.

Councillor Howard Doe, Medway’s portfolio holder for community services, said the Heritage Lottery Fund grant would allow members of the public to “fully appreciate“ Eastgate House‘s wonder.

“It is fitting that this money has been awarded as it is the icing on the cake of a wonderful year of celebration – one in which Dickens’ bicentenary played a large part locally, and was marked nationally and internationally,” he said.

The work is expected to start next year for completion in 2015.

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