If you live or work in the Darent Valley you will probably know that the Former Archbishop’s Palace at Otford, Kent is a collection of early 16th Century buildings.
The extensive scheduled monument site has a rich history and exceptional heritage significance.
The remains of the Palace built by Archbishop Warham hold exceptional heritage significance for the evidence they provide of the early 16th Century Palace.
The buildings make a significant contribution to the Otford Conservation Area but are not currently open to the public.
They are on the Historic England Heritage At Risk Register.
Our aim is to use the site and buildings of the Tudor Palace and the Otford Heritage Collection, to engage with a wide range of people from North-West Kent, and London in the heritage of the Darent Valley.
The intended impacts are that our audience will learn about this heritage, and thus change their attitudes and behaviours.
Those directly involved as volunteers will acquire new skills, particularly as visitor guides, and museum tasks
The physical focus of this activity will be the North-West Tower of the Palace and the Gatehouse.
This will create a centre for the interpretation of the Darent Valley with its 4000-year history a secure educational study centre for field study visits to the Heritage Village of Otford.
The Otford Heritage collection will be the focus for educational outreach and exploration.
Alongside physical works we will extend our existing programme of activities to include a digital resource and open access community workshops.
These opportunities and new resources will enable people to learn new curating and volunteering skills which we anticipate will add to social and community cohesion and local pride.
Our proposed project will bring the former Archbishop’s Palace buildings back into good condition, carefully repairing their fabric, minimising their environmental impact, and sensitively adding new facilities, to bring them back into a wide range of community, educational and heritage uses.
This raises the question: What uses would the community envisage for the Palace site and buildings?
We would like to get the views of Swanley residents to help us answer that question.
Rather than offering a survey asking people to tick or rank the possible uses that we have envisioned, I am writing to ask them to write us a short email (a long email if you prefer!) using your imagination about the activities that we could organise with you, uses that would help you meet your aims and aspirations.
Don’t be put off by financial constraints: we have a budget (albeit not unlimited!) to support us in these activities.
We would be most grateful for your help in publicising this engagement.
More information is available on our website at https://otfordpalace.org and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Otfordpalace
Nick Rushby, Archbishop’s Palace Conservation Trust: