Dorchester's Roman Town House is getting a £248,000 makeover

Dorchester's Roman Town House is getting a £248,000 makeover

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:53am 10th June 2020.

It might be mid-lockdown but work is continuing on making improvements at Dorchester's Roman Town House.

The site is the only one of its kind, completely on display to visitors in Britain.

Work to improve the historic landmark has been continuing through lockdown, using social distancing and safety precautions.

The site is in urgent need of improvements due to a rusty steel frame, moss on the roof and mosaics that need a little TLC.

A new ramp access has been carefully excavated, and archaeologists have also re-opened a formerly blocked entrance which hasn't been in use since the 1930's.

Roman Town House 2

Dorset Council's Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, Councillor Ray Bryan said:

"The Town House is a fine example of Roman archaeology and I am pleased the contractors and our own team have been able to continue these meticulous improvement works during lockdown. 
 
"We're looking forward to the completion of the work and the time when young and old can visit the site to gain a fascinating insight into the history of Roman Britain".

Roman Town House 3

Other changes have also been made to the site, including:

  • New fencing and a new parking area
  • A new pathway to connect existing pathways at the site
  • Resurfacing is due to start in the coming weeks
  • A narrow area around the back has been dug out to make more space

There are also future plans to create a multi-tiered stone-effect amphaitheatre style seating area to accommodate different abilities. 

It's all thanks to a £248,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

In future weeks, work will start on the inside of the house to make it safe for visitors to access the house and to clean the ancient mosaics.

The Roman coffins that are not originally part of the Roman Town House site will be moved to the top of the site using the expertise of Kellands conservators.

'How can I be involved?'

Dorset Council are looking for people to volunteer in a number of ways once the project is complete.

You could:

  • Interpret the site for visitors
  • do basic maintenance and cleaning inside the house
  • monitor the condition of the special sign
  • guide visitors inside the building

To find out more about the project or get involved, please contact Bridget Betts, Environmental Advice Manager, Dorset Council at bridget.betts@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk