Heritage Lab CIC is bidding to save Pugin’s Grade II listed Granville Hotel in Ramsgate, Kent from disappearing into obscurity.
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 19th and early 20th centuries. 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 20 th century 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.