A BUILDING used as the hospital in Downton Abbey is set for more restoration work after a significant cash boost.

A £48,750 community facilities grant from West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) completes a five-year fundraising drive totalling £320,000 for the Old Grammar School in Bampton.

A complete refurbishment of the building’s roof was completed in 2019.

Now, the second phase of restoration work can begin, seeing the upper floor of the building restored in addition to a new staircase.

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This will see the upper floor used for the first time since the 1960s.

In recent years, the building has become famous for being the Cottage Hospital in the ITV drama series Downton Abbey.

Cash has been raised for the project through the sale of memorabilia and gifts in the building’s shop.

The building, which houses the Bampton Community Archive, will also get a new kitchen and toilet facilities, while an accessible chairlift will make both floors accessible to all.

Oxford Mail: Maggie Smith, of Downton Abbey. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA WireMaggie Smith, of Downton Abbey. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Once completed, the archive, which contains thousands of village records including photographs, documents, newspaper cuttings, and sound and video files, will move upstairs and be hosted in a new, dedicated exhibition room.

Suzi Coul, WODC’s cabinet member for health and leisure, said: “This is an incredibly important building and it is wonderful that its restoration plans can now come to fruition thanks to this grant.

“I am sure it will serve as an even greater asset for the community for generations to come.”

Volunteer fundraiser Gillie Wright added: “This is brilliant news, we are absolutely thrilled that we can finish the project.

“We are very grateful to West Oxfordshire District Council for making this possible.”

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The building also houses the village library and reading room, with regular art exhibitions a feature prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The building was opened as a school in 1653 and was donated by Robert Vesey, a wealthy local merchant living in the nearby hamlet of Chimney.

St Mary’s Church, also in Bampton, was another shooting location for Downton Abbey, with many iconic moments filmed in the church.

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