The Granville - Pugin Studios

Pugin Studios

Saving The Granville Hotel in Ramsgate for future generations.

  • Location: Ramsgate

Heritage Lab’s ambition is that this Grade II listed architectural gem built in 1867 by EW Pugin, will once more be returned to productive use for the benefit of local people and has been working closely with the owner for many years to bring this about.

“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 forever, 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.”

The Granville Hotel being widely loved throughout the community, the subject of two local books with a community history going back generations, and formerly the country’s premier health spa hotel, serviced by its own private train, the future of the building had seemed in doubt.

All that remains internally of its glorious past is a sequence of spectacular, sea-facing public rooms. Currently unused, the building forms part of the Historic England at Risk Conservation area and forms part of the Heritage Action Zone.

Once a major Ramsgate and UK landmark, the treasures behind its boarded-up fagade 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.

Most recently Heritage Lab has been awarded a £300,000 investment grant from the Government’s Community Ownership Fund and The Architectural Heritage Fund charity award of £77,300.

“We are delighted to get this fabulous project back on track and can’t wait to get this amazing architectural gem reopen and back to having a productive future and once again be the focal point for the community”

“The once myriad of large thriving venues that the community has used have been converted into other uses leaving nowhere for the community and voluntary groups to hold large events, and despite accelerating demand there are few spaces suitable for the creative industries.”

Bernie Morgan, chair of Heritage Lab CIC.

On completion this project will provide support for up to 75 and 100 jobs and apprenticeships and provide a low cost and, where possible, zero cost venue for dozens of local community groups.

Minister for Levelling Up, the Union and Constitution, Neil O’Brien MP said: “This is a fantastic win for the local community who, with the government’s help, will now work to bring a piece of our shared national heritage back to life. We are boosting local pride, handing power back to local people and levelling up communities across the UK.”

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 20th 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.

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 19th century.

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 Studios

The Granville Hotel building has slowly sunk into obscurity and the treasures behind its boarded-up facade have been forgotten for 30 years.

Setting a new standard for affordable regeneration, Pugin’s Studios comprises 1,600 square metres of unrivalled potential.

Heritage Lab CIC is aiming 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.

Make a difference

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