- Children Welcome
- Venue available for hire
- Regular programme of exhibitions
- Dickens' chalet can be viewed in the gardens
- Pre-booked educational and coach groups accepted
Eastgate House is a grade one listed building of exceptional interest. It was built in the late 1590s by Sir Peter Buck, Clerk of the Cheque at Chatham Dockyard and is an excellent example of an Elizabethan town house.
Subsequently five generations of Bucks lived in the house and made their own changes and additions to the building. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the house had many uses, notably as a girls' school. It features as Westgate in Dickens' novel, Pickwick Papers and as the Nun's House in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
The house is set in its own gardens and the site also encompasses an annexe building and cottage designed by Sir Guy Dawber in the 1920s. In addition, it is home to the Swiss chalet where Dickens used to write. This was moved to Eastgate in the 1960s and was previously sited at nearby Gad’s Hill, where Dickens lived from 1856 until his death in 1870.
In the late 19th century the house was bought by the Corporation of Rochester and turned into the city museum. In the 1970s the building became the Charles Dickens’ Centre, which closed in 2004.
Eastgate House is currently used for the following activities:
• art exhibitions of contemporary and traditional art;
• local history exhibitions supported by Medway Archives and Local Studies Centre and the City of Rochester Society;
• weddings and civil ceremonies;
• educational visits for such subjects as history or drama;
• special events such as Heritage Open Days and the summer and Christmas Dickens Festivals.