April 6th 2017 marks a historic day for Chiswick House & Gardens Trust as it assumes operational management for both Chiswick gardens and the main house, which has been under the care of English Heritage. The move brings together the estate under one team for the first time in almost 70 years.
CHGT was established by English Heritage and the London Borough of Hounslow and has managed the 65 acre gardens since 2010. Uniting the house and gardens enables CHGT to tell the story of the house and gardens in full, inspiring visitors with the incredible history of the estate.
CHGT Chairman, Andrew Fane said, “this landmark agreement unites the villa and its gardens for the first time in almost 70 years. Our plan is to enable even more people from our local communities, the UK and internationally, to explore and enjoy the estate. Our team is working to improve visitor facilities so that we can show the historical, horticultural and architectural significance of the villa and gardens together as a complete work of art. Uniting the management of the villa and gardens is true to the original vision of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork, who created this wonderful estate from 1727-32.”
Both the London Borough of Hounslow and English Heritage will continue to support CHGT. English Heritage will continue to remain responsible for the conservation of the Grade I listed house and the care of the collections on display within it.
Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said, “English Heritage will continue to support the Trust, in particular in the house with our curatorial expertise. But placing the house and gardens under the care of one single team makes complete sense as it will allow for the site’s overall story to be better told and make for a better visit.”
Councillor Corinna Smart, from the London Borough of Hounslow commented “We are delighted at this agreement and look forward to working with CHGT to deliver its exciting vision for Chiswick.”
CHGT Director, Clare O’Brien, formerly of the Wallace Collection and the National Theatre said, “This agreement is the first step in fulfilling the vision that our Trustees, English Heritage and the London Borough of Hounslow had in creating CHGT. Now, we are working on plans to enable more people to enjoy the site and understand its story. Come and enjoy the House this Easter!
“This summer, we will be applying for funding to restore the house and improve our visitor facilities. We want to work even more closely with schools, universities and the one-million members of the public who visit us each year” Clare added.
Chiswick House is an 18th century villa set in classically landscaped gardens in West London. One of the earliest and finest examples of neoclassical architecture in the UK, the house was designed from 1720-32 by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork, and his associate the painter, gardener and architect, William Kent. Both the house and its gardens are Grade 1 listed and the villa itself is a scheduled ancient monument.
Upon the Earl of Burlington’s death, the house and gardens passed through his daughter’s line into the Cavendish Family, the Dukes of Devonshire. After the death of the 8th Duke, the Estate was sold to Middlesex County Council in 1929. The villa was subsequently given to the Ministry of Works in 1956, in order to repair the building and restore it for the nation. Bringing the house and gardens together under CHGT will unite the management of these twin cultural icons for the first time in almost 70 years.
Image L-R. Laurence Rich – House Supervisor, John Hulstrom – Visitor Services Assistant, David Stanton – Visitor Services Assistant, Jake Lonergan – Park Ranger, Agne Januleviciute – Visitor Services Assistant, Nick Murza – Head of Operations, Hanane El-Alaoui – Administrative Assistant, Clare O’Brien – Director, Imogen Steinberg – Events & Marketing Co-ordinator, Chris Greer – Gardener, Dee Parry – Assistant Gardener, Geraldine King – Estate Gardens Manager, Rozanna Colquhoun – Events & Marketing Co-ordinator, Sarah Smith – Administrator, Maria Angelino – Visitor Services Assistant, Marette Hickford – Visitor Services Assistant