140 Year Old Town Hall Clock Starts It Restoration Journey

November 7, 2023 Uncategorized

An iconic clock that has stood out on the Dover skyline for 140 years is to be restored as part of the £10.5 million reawakening of the Maison Dieu (Dover Town Hall).

The clock was carefully removed from the building today (6 November 2023) for the first time since 1902 and is being transported to our Derby Clockworks.  The restoration will see the clock repaired to full working order, including restoring the lighting so that the clock can be seen day and night for generations to come.

The Maison Dieu tower clock was made in 1883 by E Dent & Co, one of the most famous Victorian clockmakers. Holders of a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria, they also made the Great Clock of the Houses of Parliament. The clock tower at the Maison Dieu was part of William Burges’ remodelling of the building as a grand Victorian civic and concert hall in the 1880s.

The £10.5 million restoration of the Grade I Listed building sees the Maison Dieu permanently open to the public from 2025 for the first time in its 800-year history.

Cllr Charlotte Zosseder, cabinet member for community and corporate property at Dover District Council said:

“The removal of the Maison Dieu clock for restoration is the next exciting step in the reawakening of this amazing building. We’re looking forward to its return so that it can continue its history as Dover’s most famous clock!”

Our Complex Projects Manager Martin Butchers has added that:

“At Smith of Derby we are thrilled to be playing our part in the reawakening of the Maison Dieu. We are looking forward to restoring the cast iron skeleton dials, introducing LED internal backlit lighting and reengineering the bevel sets and bushes, the dial motion-works inside the drum. The Maison Dieu Tower Clock is a landmark of the Dover skyline and it’s a privilege to be involved in the project.”

The £10.5m reawakening of the Grade I Listed Maison Dieu sees the restoration of internationally significant decorative schemes by the renowned Victorian neo-Gothic architect, William Burges, and a new street-level visitor entrance to the Connaught Hall, along with improved access throughout the building.

The project creates a sustainable future for the Maison Dieu by bringing redundant spaces back into commercial use, including restoring the Mayor’s Parlour as a holiday let in conjunction with The Landmark Trust, and a unique new café in the space once occupied by Victorian gaol cells.

Once complete in 2025, the Maison Dieu will be permanently open to the public for the first time in its 800-year history and contributing to the creation of a heritage quarter in Dover town centre.

Project funders/partners include the National Lottery Heritage Fund, The Wolfson Foundation, The Landmark Trust, Dover Town Council, and the Dover Society.

We will provide further updates as the project develops.


Maison Dieu Clock Repair

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Nicholas Whitworth: