Restoration Project


Conservation and restoration of the historic building was key to the Beaney project. 

Highlights include:

  • Replacement of exterior woodwork damaged by death-watch beetle, including re-carving of one of the pair of griffins guarding either side of the High Street entrance doorway (new wood has been left unstained and will weather and darken over time)
  • Repair of Italian terrazzo flooring, made of coloured marble fragments and including swirling patterns and Canterbury coat of arms
  • Removal of partitions to reveal the original beauty and scale of the historic staircase and rooms
  • Restoration of the illuminated ceiling in the purpose-built 1934 picture gallery with lighting simulating daylight
  • Creation of new wooden doors, brass door handles and door plates in the same style as historic ones

Archaeological Finds

Before construction began the Canterbury Archaeological Trust excavated the site, revealing fascinating evidence of past occupation. The Beaney was known to have been constructed over part of the Roman Forum and one of the principal roads. A metalled road surface was found, together with a masonry building thought to be a tavern, a jewellery workshop, the bone-strewn floor and ovens of fast-food stalls, and a burnt-down Roman building with a gold bracelet hidden under the floor. Bone artefacts were uncovered from Norman times, and a range of broken bottles and clay pipes from medieval and later inns were found discarded in a cesspit. Also, fine stoneware tankards decorated with names and inn-signs. One, dated 1749, carries a relief of dragon-slayer St George and the inscribed name of innkeeper Henry Saffory: the ‘George and Dragon Inn' was demolished to make way for the Beaney.

Public art

Art and craft were central to the original Beaney and new work has been commissioned as part of the restoration project.

Windows by Laura Thomas, with richly coloured open-weave threads in glass, mark the transition between old and new building at the heart of the Beaney between The Kitchen and Atrium. They were commissioned through the Museumaker programme supported by Arts Council England, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and the Renaissance programme. Further information about Laura Thomas at  

Kaleidoscopes by Anna Heinrich and Leon Palmer are located throughout the Beaney, offering ever-changing and playful views on rooms and displays. Commissioned and funded by Canterbury City Council and Kent County Council. Further information about Heinrich & Palmer at 


exterior of the Beaney Art Museum and Library


Click here to find out more about the redevelopment of the Beaney art museum and library.




display of the Beaney Institute c1900


On 16 September 1897 the Mayor of Canterbury laid the Beaney Institute's foundation stone. Canterbury had been left a bequest by former resident, Dr Beaney.

Follow the beaney on:

Museumaker window by Laura Thomas in the Beaney Art Museum and Library

Museumaker by artist Laura Thomas


worker working on the refurbishment of the floor in the Beaney Art Museum and Library

Refurbishment of the floor


conservation work on a painting at the Beaney Art Museum and Library

Paintings conservator Mary Bustin at work.


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