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All change at cricket Tabernacle


By Dennis Fowle


WORK has started on renovating one of Maidstone’s most iconic buildings – the 100-year-old Tabernacle at the Mote Cricket Ground. It was constructed by Marcus Samuel, the


Lord Bearsted and former owner of Mote Park, as his personal cricket changing room and social area adjacent to the main pavil- ion, which he also built. It contains his per- sonal shower and toilet area – and even a fireplace. When itwas his turn to bat he left The Tabernacle and descended the steps to the playing area. In recent years the building had deterio-


rated and was closed for safety reasons. But now the Mote Cricket Club has received two £10,000 grants (one from the Cobtree Charity Trust and the other from KCC) and has been promised skilled help from the local 36 Engineer Regiment to bring The Tabernacle back to its former glory. The biggest job is now completed – a new re-tiled roof. Work is about to start


Restoration of The Tabanacle at theMote Cricket Ground gets underway.


on the rest of the building. If funding is adequate the cricket club hopes The Tabernacle will be com- pleted this year to become a new centre of excellence for youth sport in Maid- stone, with coaching and administration the priority. It will also serve as a changing room, a base for umpires and referees, and a meeting room. “We also plan it will serve as a small museum so its wonderful history will


be projected,” said Dennis Fowle, chairman of TheMote CC development com- mittee. “We work with Maidstone Museum and maybe there are other photo- graphs and memorabilia around we could display.”  The cricket club is also looking at ways of financing a re-build of the dete- riorating and outdated main pavilion on the existing footprint and is discussing with Maidstone Council a small enabling residential development on the site.


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Founder of oil company Shell


MARCUS Samuel (left), the Lord Bearsted, whose family sold Mote Park to Maidstone Council for £50,000 in 1929, was founder and first chairman of the international oil giant Shell. He saw the opportunity in the


late 19th century when travel- ling for the family business in ornamental shells. So he named it after his existing business – and it became Shell Oil. Samuel was Lord Mayor of London from 1902 to 1903. His sonWalter, the 2nd Lord Bearsted, followed his father as chairman of Shell.


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