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We were delighted to take our Patron, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, to visit three Heritage of London Trust projects in west London. First stop was the handsome 18th century Cranford Stables, in Hillingdon, part of an exciting new project to regenerate the site of the Berkeley earls’ house in Cranford Park. Second stop was Cranford’s Village Lock Up, a rare surviving example of a village ‘lock up’ or prison cell, restored in late 2017. An article about the project can be found here. Our third and final visit was to Boston Manor House where we were met by Mayor of Hounslow, Tony Louki, and Hounslow Council. Our Patron inspected the classical wallpaper soon to be restored with a HOLT grant, and the fantastic interior of this Jacobean manor house: reopening in 2020! The morning finished with a delicious riverside lunch in Chiswick.

Work has now begun on the portico of St. Mary’s Church on Upper Street, Islington! The masonry teams have been carefully dismantling the pediment frieze which will be recorded, labelled, repaired and then reinstated.

We were delighted to be involved in the Festival of History at Royal Holloway University of London this year. HOLT’s Director, Dr Nicola Stacey, gave the 2019 Magna Carta Lecture as part of a series of talks hosted by the Citizens Project, celebrating the history of liberty, protest, rebellion and reform over the past 800 years. Dr Stacey spoke in the beautiful chapel at Royal Holloway on ‘Pushing Back: Engaging with the Histories of Dissent‘ and the talk was followed by an engaged Q&A in which Heritage of London Trust projects were discussed in relation to the themes celebrated in this lecture series. We had a fantastic time and look forward to seeing who will present next year!

We had a great visit to Chapel Studio, in King’s Langley, to see some of our stained glass projects – the dazzling window of Peckham’s Licensed Victuallers’ Chapel now finished and the floral designs for the Royal Hospital of Neuro-disability on their way… plus all the fun of some soldering practice!

For more on some of these projects, watch our immersive VR video here.

Wonderful to see progress on our Sarah Siddons project in Paddington Green. The work includes preparing the marble and using old photos of the statue to recreate the lost dagger, mask and features in a hard wax… carving begins next week!

Who was Sarah Siddons and what restoration work is needed? Click here to find out.

We had a fabulous dinner at the Museum of the Order of St John this week, joined by HRH The Duke of Gloucester. The reception was in the medieval galleries and dinner in the magnificent Chapter Hall. We were thrilled to have so many new supporters for our work… A huge thank you to all who came and to our new Patrons: London will be the more beautiful and more precious for it.

We had a fantastic lunch for some new Patrons with Allyson McDermott, the country’s top wallpaper conservator & designer who has led projects at some of the greatest historic houses across the world. She is working on our project to restore the 18th century wallpaper at Boston Manor, in Hounslow, and talked about her research, analysis, and the traditional & contemporary techniques she’ll be using in restoring this rare west London scheme.

We were delighted to visit the new RAF Biggin Hill Memorial Museum to see two completed HOLT projects – the 1930s RAF gates and a poignant memorial stone commemorating RAF support for the Netherlands during World War II. 300 Dutch airman fled to Britain after the Netherlands were invaded in May 1940 and Dutch squadron 322 flew from Biggin Hill. The stone marks the close alliance between the two nations at this critical point in European history. We were joined by our Dutch patron and supporter Annie Mackeson-Sandbach, our President Martin Drury and trustee Edward Benyon.

We had a festive evening with the BFI team celebrating the restored National Film Theatre sign on Waterloo Bridge. Installed in 1957 as a colourful cascade of lights it was switched on by our President Martin Drury and Vice-President Dudley Fishburn.

We had a fabulous Christmas drinks party in the Covent Garden Hotel – with thanks to the generosity of Kit & Tim Kemp. It was a chance to highlight some great projects and also our brand new Patrons’ scheme…more soon.