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Eastgate House project restarts

by Marco Cillario Thu 10 March 2016, 5:03 pm

Work to restore a Grade I listed townhouse in Rochester will resume in spring 2016 and will be completed by the end of the year.

Medway Council announced on 27 January that it had awarded completion of the Eastgate House to construction company Buxton Building Contractors.

A £2 million Heritage Lottery funded project to conserve the building was paused in July 2015 due to main contractor, Fairhurst Ward Abbots going into voluntary administration. 

The house is one of Rochester’s most famous landmarks, featuring in two of Charles Dickens’ famous novels; The Pickwick Papers and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Work carried out by Buxton will include repairs to the roof, windows and floors, with new heating and lighting installed. A new lift to the upper floors and the reinstatement of a staircase removed more than a century ago will improve access for visitors.

The house will reopen in early 2017, with exhibitions and displays telling the story of those who lived there, and space available for cultural activities and events. 

“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,” said Howard Doe, Medway Council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for community services.

Originally built in 1591 for Peter Buck, clerk of the cheque at Chatham’s Royal Tudor Dockyard, the townhouse then grew throughout the years, becoming three times its original size and having different roles, from family home to Victorian boarding school and town museum.

Buxton’s contracts manager David Bean said: “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 is delighted to be working with the team and all stakeholders to restore this Grade I listed building so that it retains its 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.”


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