A Dickensian restoration
Minor Canon Row, Rochester in KentThe Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust devoted two and a half years to the painstaking restoration of Minor Canon Row, an historic Rochester street immortalised by author Charles Dickens. The final property in this challenging project has recently been sold by Jackson-Stops & Staff. Charles Dickens lived in Rochester from 1856 and described the row as a quiet place in the shadow of the cathedral.

Charles Dickens also mentions them in his novel, The Mystery of Edmond Drood, where he describes the houses as wonderfully quaint with
odd little porches over the doors, like sounding boards over pulpits. It is appropriate that this example of fine Georgian architecture has been brought back to life in the same year as the writers Bicentenary. In a fascinating tale almost worthy of a Dickens novel seven houses on Minor Canon Row (formerly homes of the Cathedrals minor canons) were put up for sale on the open market by Rochester Cathedral for the first time ever and were in desperate need of restoration.

The Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust, with the support of private funding, stepped in to rescue the houses. Several of the houses had been
split into flats in the 1950s and The Trust embraced the delicate task of converting the flats back into houses and bringing these historic
buildings back to life. In order to protect the integrity of the properties and the uniform exterior elevations the Trust were responsible for the structural repairs, renovating the front steps, replacing the front area fencing, overhauling the roofs, lead work and brickwork. All but the end houses were then sold to owners to complete the restoration of the interiors t0 their own style and taste.

The medieval gatehouse, Priors Gate, and the houses at either end of the row numbers one and seven - were fully restored and completely renovated by the Trust. Dawn Carritt, Director, Jackson-Stops and Staffs Country Houses office, who sold the properties said: Minor Cannon
Row is Grade I listed and these buildings are an important part of the Cathedral precinct and Rochesters history so it was vital these were preserved.

The Spitalfields Trust brought over 30 years experience to this project and their knowledge of conservation has ensured that if
Dickens were to walk down Minor Canon Row today, he would instantly recognise it. In a fitting final chapter of this restoration project, number seven the former Cathedral organists home the last of the properties to be restored has just been sold to buyers with a great appreciation and understanding of Georgian architecture. The future of this group of buildings now looks secure.