Kent Archaeological Review extract

Roman Painted House at Dover --
Progress report, December 1975.
by George Ruck.
(Dover Roman Painted House Trustee.)

It is with great pleasure that I am able to report the good news that the preservation scheme for the 'Painted House' is now certain to go ahead. The 'Dover Roman Painted House Trust', with charitable status, was formally set up in November 1975 and the seven trustees, representing the main contributors, include nominees of the Dover District Council, the Kent County Council, the Dept. of the Environment and the Kent Archaeol. Rescue Unit. This success follows the outstanding support from the public during the August open days and everyone, especially the 'Friends of the Painted House' are warmly thanked for their help.

I am also delighted to report that many eminent people have readily agreed to become patrons of the 'Painted House' and we welcome their support.

Our patrons include:

  • Lord Astor of Hever
  • Prof Eric Birley (Durham University)
  • The Rt Hon Lord Clark of Saltwood, CH, KCB, FBA.
  • F E Cleary, MBE, FRICS.
  • Prof. John Evans, MA,PhD,FBA, (Institute of Arch., London)
  • The Earl of Guildford
  • The Viscountess Hanworth
  • Ronald Jessup, FSA
  • Major-General the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, CB,OBE,ML,DL
  • Peter Rees. QC,MP
  • The Rt Hon Lord Salmon of Sandwich
  • Terry Sutton Esq
  • The Town Mayor of Dover (George Ruck Esq)
  • Prof. Jocelyn Toynbee
  • Chairman of the Kent County Council (Lt Col John Waite)
  • Sir Mortimer Wheeler. MC,MA,DLitt,FBA.

Following the appeal for funds towards the target of 90.000 launched on the site at Dover in August. I am delighted to report that the total now stands at 55.300 with money still coming in from new 'Friends' over a wide area.

The total so far is made up as follows:

Dover District Council25,000
Kent County Council25,000
'Friends of the Painted House' 5,300
Still to raise34,700

It is very heartening to see both the Dover District Council and the Kent County Council (grant confirmed November 1975) giving such substantial and ready financial support. Both Councils must be congratulated for their vision and wisdom in such hard economic times. The Dept. of the Environment have agreed in principle to cover the cost of the conservation of the Roman structure and requests for financial assistance have already been made to major national charities. The contributions made by the 'Friends' has played a vital role in the launching of the scheme.

The first task of the trustees has been to select a design for the new protective building from the four excellent schemes submitted. The architect appointed is now drawing up formal plans based on the trustees' specifications and requirements to submit to the planning authority. The final go-ahead still depends on the ability to raise all of the money. If we can reach 60,000 by 1st April 1976 then the building work will start then.

In September 1975 the Kent Archaeol. Rescue Unit began the preliminary work on the site. Fourteen hundred tons of soil were mechanically removed from the area in readiness for the building operations. This enables the work of recording the buried archaeology to take place before the contractor's entry. Already substantial masonry and rich archaeological deposits have been found in the area to the north of the 'Painted House' and these are still being investigated.

A highlight of the winter months occurred when HRH the Duke of Gloucester made a special visit to the Dover excavations in November. His Royal Highness showed a great interest in all aspects of the work which was greatly appreciated by the Dover team.

As postage costs are now so high we are sure that all 'Friends of the Painted House' will understand that it is too expensive to send everyone regular progress reports. The CKA has very generously allowed us to use KAR to keep you in touch and we are most grateful for this facility.

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