Huguenot Heritage Centre receives £1.2 million grant

By Jon Bauckham, 21 April 2014 - 6:28pm

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded over £1.2 million to a Kent charity to create the UK’s first ever Huguenot Heritage Centre

Located at 95 High Street, Rochester, the first floor of the Huguenot Heritage Centre will be divided up into three separate exhibitions – religious persecution, the Huguenots as refugees and British Huguenots today

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded over £1.2 million to create the UK’s first ever Huguenot Heritage Centre.

Set to open above the Visitor Information Centre in Rochester next year, the facility will tell the story of the Huguenots – thousands of French Protestants who fled religious persecution and settled in Britain, mostly at the end of the 17th century.

As well as outlining the culture and the crafts that the immigrants brought with them, including silk weaving, the centre will also help people trace their family history and see whether they have any Huguenot forebears themselves.

The idea for the centre was first proposed by the directors of the nearby French Hospital, which was founded in 1718 as a charity offering sanctuary to poor Huguenots.

Much of the French Hospital’s private collection, which includes written documents, paintings and silverware, will be stored in the basement of the building.

Peter Duval, Chairman of the Huguenot Heritage Centre, said: “The Directors of the French Hospital have been working towards the creation of a Huguenot Heritage Centre for many years.

“I am delighted by the news of this award, which allows us now to bring the little known but fascinating story of Huguenot immigration and integration to a wide audience.

“It is an enormously important part of our collective heritage.”
 

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►  Find out more about the Huguenot Heritage Centre here

 

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