Published: 13:58, 19 May 2022
| Updated: 16:52, 19 May 2022
A historic seafront building kept from public sight for more than 30 years is to be brought back to life for the community.
The Grade II listed Pugin's Studios in Ramsgate, at the former Granville Hotel, will be saved from decay and restored thanks to a £300,000 boost from the government's levelling up fund.
Designed by one of the town's most famous residents, EW Pugin, the prestigious space has not been open to the public for three decades.
Previously a haunt for royalty, grand dukes, lords and ladies, and the rich and famous, it boasted 26 spas and baths, a marble skating ring, theatre and ballroom.
Heritage Lab CIC, which is leading the restoration project, says it was commandeered as a military hospital for the Canadian government in the First World War and later in the 20th century was a ballroom dancing venue and the Cave jazz club.
Its public bar closed for the final time in 1991 and it has remained shut ever since.
But through the Community Ownership Fund - part of a wider £150m government funding package to 'level up' communities by helping them seize at-risk local assets - the building will be transformed into a venue for people in the area.
Heritage Lab CIC, an arts organisation in Ramsgate set up to unlock the social and economic potential of historic buildings and community assets in the town, has been working on saving the building for years.
The Community Ownership Fund grant will pay for the renovation of the bar and restaurant area, creating a place for events and reviving the venue, and also creating a new space for start-ups and local businesses.
Chairman of Heritage Lab CIC Bernie Morgan says they are thrilled the government has chosen to award the organisation with the grant.
"This will mean that we can get this fabulous project back on track," she said.
"We 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 funding is part of the government’s drive to level-up opportunity and prosperity across the country and create more places that people are proud to call home.
The aim is to create more jobs, boost local businesses and build up local economies as a result.
Minister for levelling up, the union and constitution Neil O’Brien said: "This is a fantastic win for the local community in Ramsgate 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."
Other at-risk assets across the country which are being taken on by the community through the levelling-up fund include the UK's most remote pub in Scotland and Gigg Lane, home of Bury FC.