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Old House Project

Maidstone, Kent, England

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)

Old House Project, St Andrew’s Chapel

St Andrew’s Chapel is a Grade II*-listed building dating from the 15th century that originally formed part of the outer precinct of Boxley Abbey. From the 16th to the 20th century, the building was used as housing, and finally, as the village post office. By the end of the 1960s, the building had been sold and become vacant. At the time of its purchase by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) in November 2018, it had been subject to vandalism and was included on the Historic England ‘At Risk’ Register due to a lack of repair.

SPAB was founded by William Morris in 1877 to promote the value and protection of old buildings and good conservation practice. Today, SPAB delivers a wide programme of conservation training, courses, advice and research. The Old House Project will deliver a five-year repair programme as the first ‘live’ conservation course delivered by SPAB. Working in partnership with schools, colleges and universities, the project will allow students and volunteers to take part in active training sessions using traditional conservation techniques and new technology. Once the five-year programme is complete, the house will be removed from the Historic England ‘At Risk’ Register and have a sustainable future use as housing. 

As well as carrying out urgent roof repairs, archaeological investigation, and delivering a varied programme of training and skills development, in the last year SPAB have also provided public activities through on-site guided tours and use of digital engagement. The Old House Project was joint winner of the 2021 Museums + Heritage Award for Conservation Project of the Year, recognising its innovative conservation training programme. Supported by our Heritage Impact Fund loan, a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant and the Pilgrim Trust, amongst others, the Old House Project will demonstrate the benefits of SPAB principles and practice and live conservation training, making it the first of a series of building repair projects across the UK.

Image Credit

SPAB/Daniel Bridge

AHF Funding

Heritage Impact Fund Loan - £500,000 (2020)

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