Date: 03/08/2012 Category: Tourism
Medway Council is giving residents the chance to have their say about the future conservation of Eastgate House, Rochester.
The historic building was awarded a first round development grant of £80,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund last year, which has helped progress plans to repair and transform the house into a fantastic exhibition and community space.
In September the council will move on to the second stage of the lottery application process and submit more detailed plans for a full grant of just under £1m.
A Conservation Management Plan has been written which proposes policies for future works and management of the house. It will now form an essential part of the grant request to Heritage Lottery Fund to help conserve the building and tell the stories of those who lived and worked there over 400 years.
Copies of the plan can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively copies are available to view at the reception desk at all of Medway’s libraries.
Residents have until 12noon on Monday, 13 August to contact the council and share their views on the policies proposed.
Comments should be sent by email to the address above or sent by mail to Leanne Fisher, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, ME4 4TR.
Notes for Editors
Eastgate House is a grade one listed building of exceptional interest. It was built in the late 1590s by Sir Peter Buck, Clerk of the Cheque at Chatham Dockyard and is an excellent example of an Elizabethan town house.
Subsequently five generations of Bucks lived in the house and made their own changes and additions to the building. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the house had many uses, notably as a girls' school. It features as Westgate in Dickens' novel, Pickwick Papers and as the Nun's House in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
The house is set in its own gardens and the site also encompasses an annexe building and cottage designed by Sir Guy Dawber in the 1920s. In addition, it is home to the Swiss chalet where Dickens used to write. This was moved to Eastgate in the 1960s and was previously sited at nearby Gad’s Hill, where Dickens lived from 1856 until his death in 1870.
In the late 19th century the house was bought by the Corporation of Rochester and turned into the city museum. In the 1970s the building became the Charles Dickens’ Centre, which closed in 2004.
Eastgate House is currently used for the following activities:
• art exhibitions of contemporary and traditional art;
• local history exhibitions supported by Medway Archives and
Local Studies Centre and the City of Rochester Society;
• weddings and civil ceremonies;
• educational visits for such subjects as history or drama;
• special events such as Heritage Open Days and the summer and Christmas Dickens Festivals.