Saving ‘Pugin’s Chambers” at The Granville Hotel in Ramsgate for future generations
Heritage Lab has a legal agreement with the owner to buy the 999-year leasehold to the seafront Granville Bars. It has a year in which to raise the £485,000 needed to complete the deal and kick start their plans to transform it into a thriving creative hub and world class events space.
“We want to unleash creative potential by restoring Ramsgate’s heritage buildings,” said Rob Kenyon, CEO and founder of Heritage Lab CIC.
“We now know that this incredible Pugin building can be saved for ever, have a productive future and once again be the focal point for the community. This is the first of our Curiously Creative projects and with the support of the community and our supporters, we know we can make this happen.”
Nick Dermott, Chairman, The Pugin Society, said: “The formerly palatial Granville Hotel represents an extremely rare example of Edward Pugin working in the commercial sphere. The remaining spaces still clearly express Pugin’s grand ambitions, and his architectural panache.
“The spaces at the former Granville Hotel have not been seen by the public in 30 years. Their reopening would greatly enhance Ramsgate’s facilities while revealing important historic spaces not seen for a generation.” Pugin’s Chambers will bring life and light back into this architectural gem, designed and built in 1867 by Edward Welby Pugin, and return it into productive use for the benefit of local people.
Once a major Ramsgate and UK landmark, the treasures behind its boarded-up façade have been forgotten for over 30 years. All that remains internally of its glorious past is a sequence of spectacular, yet derelict, sea facing public rooms.
Regularly visited by princes and princesses, grand dukes, lords & ladies, writers, actors and the rich and famous from all over Europe, the Granville Hotel guest list represents a “who’s who” of the late 19thand early 20thcenturies.
With 26 spas and baths, a marble skating ring, theatre and ballroom, it was the premier destination of its day, with guests arriving on the privately chartered first class ‘Granville Express’ train from London.
It was commandeered as a military hospital for the Canadian Government in the first World War, and medical officers who served there include the first Canadian to be awarded the Victoria Cross and a future Nobel laureate.
Later in the 20thcentury it was more widely known as a ballroom dancing venue and the Cave jazz club. Its public bar closed for the final time in 1991.
Edward Welby Pugin was the eldest son of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, one of England’s greatest architects, who played a pioneering role in the Gothic revival style of architecture in the early part of the 19thcentury.
Edward became an acclaimed architect in his own right on taking over his father’s practice, designing and completing over 100 Catholic churches – including a number of cathedrals – across the British Isles before his early death at the age of 41.
The Vision for Pugin’s Chambers
The Granville Hotel building has slowly sunk into obscurity and the treasures behind its boarded-up façade have been forgotten for 30 years. In contrast to its glamorous past, the East Cliff of Ramsgate [in which the building sits], now ranks within the 5% most deprived wards in England.
Setting a new standard for affordable regeneration, Pugin’s Chambers comprises 1,600 square metres of unrivalled potential.
Heritage Lab CIC is aiming is to restore the magnificent former ballroom, theatre and bar to create new spaces for uses such as exhibitions, performances, gallery and interpretation space, community events and conferences.
The project team will also restore the Granville Bars, and restaurant with kitchens that could support major events and weddings for up to 500 people. The original hotel bedrooms have long been converted for private residential use and do not form part of this project.
The lower ground floor is currently a collection of interlinked rooms, most with opportunities to reintroduce natural light. These will become creative studios, workshops, and live to work space.
Anyone interested in helping with this exciting new project and make a difference to the future of Ramsgate or to simply keep in touch, you can register here http://heritagelab.org.uk/join/
An ambitious £2.5M project which aims to bring life and light back into a Grade II listed architectural gem, designed and built by Edward Welby Pugin, and return it into productive use for the benefit of local people.