Chiswick House & Gardens Trust recently received £85,000 of National Lottery support through the Heritage Lottery Fund under the Resilient Heritage grant programme. Made possible by National Lottery players, Resilient Heritage grants help strengthen organisations, building the capacity of staff and volunteers to better manage heritage in the long term.
The grant is funding the salary of Chiswick House & Garden’s first ever full-time fundraiser, an access audit that will review the physical accessibility of the House, and a full consultation into the visitor experience. These activities will help the Trust move towards a fully integrated, inclusive and self-sustaining Grade I listed site with a faithful heritage presentation, where the House and the Gardens can be understood by visitors as a single work of art. Projects funded by this grant are now well underway: a fundraiser was appointed earlier this month and will be responsible for generating income through a variety of sources, working towards the Trust’s financial sustainability; the access audit has been completed, the results of which have been presented to the Trust; and, a consultant has been appointed to conduct a review of the visitor experience.
This is not the first grant Chiswick House & Gardens has received from the National Lottery. In 2006, the Trust was awarded £8.1m to assist in the restoration of the Grade I listed Gardens. This served as an acknowledgement of the Gardens significance to the English Landscape Movement, which not only changed British design but were one of the UK’s greatest contributions to European art and architecture.
The Trust would now like to bring the Grade I listed Chiswick House up to par with the restored gardens; the House was a bold architectural eighteenth-century experiment, which influenced the buildings of Georgian England but now suffers from a lack of accessibility and needs some attention. The Trust are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and all the National Lottery players for making the first steps towards this possible.
Clare O’Brien, Director of the Trust, says “The Trust is delighted that the National Lottery is enabling us to make these vital development steps towards improving the visitor accessibility and experience for visitors to Chiswick House. It is wonderful that the House and Gardens are integrated once more after over 60 years.”
This is a crucial moment for Chiswick House & Gardens Trust. Having taken over management of the House just over 18 months ago, the task is now that of unifying the House and Gardens from both management and presentational perspectives. The running costs of the Estate amount to more than £1million each year, over and above the support of our key stakeholders, English Heritage Trust and the London Borough of Hounslow, this includes the costs necessary to support our crucial work to increase visitor numbers and the public understanding of this wonderful heritage.
The Trust would like to thank all the National Lottery players and the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support.
Image: CHISWICK HOUSE “A View of the Patte d’oie with the Bagnio and the Domed Building” c1728-9 by Pieter Andreas RYSBRACK (1690-1748)