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Dover Town Hall upgraded to Grade I listing

Maison Dieu, also known as Dover Town Hall, has today been upgraded from Grade II* to Grade I listing on Historic England’s recommendation.

Dover Town Hall © Hajotthu/WikiCommons

The DCMS made the decision, supported by the Victorian Society, to upgrade the 800 year old building’s listing following two years of research into its history which revealed hidden decorative work by Victorian architect William Burges.

Originally a medieval hospital offering shelter to pilgrims heading to Canterbury Cathedral, the building in Dover, south east Kent, was extensively remodelled in the late nineteenth century by Burges, famous as the architect of Cardiff Castle.

Until now, much of Burges’ work had been hidden beneath layers of paint; as part of the research period, experts undertook a series of tests to determine the extent of the remodelling. Upon the discovery of the extent of the Gothic-inspired scheme, Dover District Council, the owners of Maison Dieu, subsequently applied for Heritage Lottery Funding to restore Burges’ work to its former glory.

If the bid is successful, Burges’ originally decorative scheme will be reinstated. Furthermore, the HLF funding will ensure a complete restoration of the building, enabling it to be fully open to the public for the first time in the buildings history.

Posy Metz, Listing Adviser at Historic England, said: “[Maison Dieu] fully deserves being upgraded to Grade I, the highest level of listed buildings. It was restored in the mid-19th century and substantially extended in the late 19th century by William Burges, a Gothic Revival architect of considerable renown… much of its architectural detail survives, including fine stained glass windows, and an evocative series of 19th century prison cells beneath the great Stone Hall.”

Find out more about this building's re-discovered history and why it deserves Grade I listing here

Wednesday 11 January

More recent item: Harris Museum in danger of mutilation
Earlier item: St Patrick's Hall saved from demolition

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