Bridge Chamber and Chapel to be given new lease of life

A major refurbishment is set to bring two historic Grade-2 listed Rochester buildings into the 21st century.

The medieval Rochester Bridge Chapel and adjacent Victorian Bridge Chamber will be brought up to modern day standards in a comprehensive programme of works. They were last refurbished more than 80 years ago.

Tim Cathcart, Chief Estates Officer at the Rochester Bridge Trust, said: “The Bridge Chapel and adjacent Bridge Chamber have served the Trust well for centuries, but it is time to upgrade them, while preserving and enhancing their historic features and character.

“The works will bring both buildings up to 21st century standards for accessibility and service provision, improving public access to the buildings and the collection.

“These iconic Grade 2-listed structures are as much a part of the history of the Trust as the bridges we are known for, and we have taken a lot of time and care to plan these works. The project team is led by architects Hugh Broughton Associates, who have liaised with Medway Council and Historic England to ensure our proposals will improve the visitor experience while respecting the heritage of these structures.”

Rochester Bridge Chapel is more than 600 years old, while the Bridge Chamber was constructed in the late 1870s. The last refurbishment was carried out by Sir Herbert Baker in 1937.

The project includes improving access; installing new services, lighting and accessible toilets; upgrades to the archive storage facility and the creation of a new archive reading room.

Hoo-based building contractor Coleman and James (Services) Limited have been appointed by the Trust to carry out the works. Prior to the internal refurbishment, external works began in 2020, to coincide with the refurbishment of Rochester Esplanade and minimise disruption to neighbours.

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