By George they’ve done it


Yet another Rye hospitality business has hit the headlines this week and in an industry which has been plagued with so any issues over the last two years it’s gratifying to see that the painstaking process of restoring the George Hotel to its former glory and to such exacting standards has been recognised by the Sussex Heritage Trust. Congratulations to Alex and Katie Clark who, against all the odds have managed to not only rebuild the building but have also re-established their business in a very challenging climate.

Sussex Heritage Trust issued the following press release:

The historic sixteenth-century coaching inn, now luxury hotel and restaurants, has won a Sussex Heritage Trust Award. Sponsored by Irwin Mitchell, the Sussex Heritage Trust awards took place at a sold-out awards lunch and ceremony at Pangdean Old Barn, Pyecombe on Tuesday, July 4.

The awards are designed to recognise and reward high quality conservation, restoration and good design of newly built projects and encourage the use of traditional skills and crafts. Winners across ten categories from residential schemes to public and community buildings to commercial projects, are presented a hand-crafted slate plaque by the trust’s president, Lord Egremont, which is attached to the winning project.

The George in Rye (submitted by RX Architects) was subject to a devastating fire in 2019 and has since undergone a complex restoration project, which included a new glazed lobby into the courtyard. The Sussex Heritage Trust judging team said:

“A superb refurbishment, finding and displaying previously hidden features with great attention to detail.”

The George Hotel in all its glory

There was one further award winner from Rye and the surrounding area, which was Eco House Wildlife Garden, East Sussex by Rye garden designer, Kristina Clode Garden Design and a highly commended commendation for Wick Farm Barn, Rye (submitted by Jonathan Dunn Architects, Rye).

Grade I listed church, St Michael and All Angels in Berwick was announced as the winner of the eco award category, sponsored by Cowan Architects which celebrates excellence in sustainability, biodiversity and energy efficiency. The church is of national importance due to the paintings by the renowned Bloomsbury Group: Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell. The paintings were in urgent need of conservation and restoration ensuring a suitable environment for their long-term future this included upgrading of the heat exchange systems, LED lighting and a small extension.

Frank Clarke of Clarke Roofing Southern Ltd was named the 2023 Sussex Heritage Trust person of the year sponsored by Harvey’s Brewery and Lawson Commercial, presented by HM lord-lieutenant of West Sussex, Lady Emma Barnard.

Chairman of the Sussex Heritage Trust, Simon Knight said:

“Frank has been in the industry for over 49 years and there is no doubt his absolute dedication to his craft. Not only has he a passion for this craft and the maintenance of heritage projects but he has an unending enthusiasm to use his vast experience to guide and advise the next generation of heritage skilled craftsmen. Thank you to all who entered the Sussex Heritage Trust awards and congratulations to all our winners and highly commended projects. My grateful thanks also goes to our headline sponsor, Irwin Mitchell.”

The Sussex Heritage Trust awards are sponsored by Irwin Mitchell alongside other well-known Sussex companies Gravetye Manor, Savills, Henry Adams, Valley Builders, Covers, Harvey’s Brewery, Lawson Commercial, Pilbeam Construction, RH and RW Clutton and Toovey’s Auctioneers. For a full list of all the award winners and highly commended projects please go to

Image Credits: Nick Forman .

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  1. It is great that this sensitive but creative restoration of The George is getting the recognition it deserves – real building conservation, on a daunting scale, delivered in the most challenging of circumstances. Thanks to all those involved in bringing the George back to Rye with a new lease of life – something certainly they are to be congratulated for and something we should celebrate.


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