Big Plans For Pitzhanger Manor

To become major heritage and arts venue

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The library at Pitzhanger Manor - photograph (c) John Sturrock

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Major plans to develop Pitzhanger Manor - the home of great British architect Sir John Soane are now underway.

The historic building in Walpole Park, will be completely restored and developed into a multi-faceted cultural venue.

The project aims to reveal closed and hidden Soane rooms and restore Soane design details throughout the House. Visitor services will be improved with a new café, and new education and visitor spaces inside the historic house.

Under a separate funding stream, the surrounding grounds of Walpole Park will be landscaped, restoring the early nineteenth century grounds within the environs of the House and building an education centre within the wider parkland, alongside improved services for park visitors.

The Pitzhanger Manor Trust has now been formed to work with Ealing Council in carrying forward the project and begin raising about £5m to complete the £8m work.

Pitzhanger has appointed Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, former British Ambassador to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Israel and an Ealing resident as Chairman of the new Trust. One of his first actions as Chairman was to welcome HRH The Duke of Kent to Pitzhanger Manor in December 2012, for a tour of the building and discussion of the innovative plans.

Other members of the new Trust include the Leader of Ealing Council and the Leader of the Opposition (underlining the fact that the project has cross- party support), as well as leading figures in the local and London heritage worlds.

Sir Sherard said ''This is a vital moment for one of the country’s finest buildings – a place that was very dear to Sir John Soane. A successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid and fundraising campaign will propel Pitzhanger into a secure future in which it becomes a sophisticated heritage and arts venue, continuing to serve local audiences but becoming an intriguing historic destination for lovers of art and architecture from all over London, the UK and beyond.

''Ealing Council has shown enormous commitment to the project to date and is looking to the Trust for help with fundraising and moving the project forward.''

Soane bought Pitzhanger in 1800, demolishing most of the existing property and redesigning and
rebuilding it to his own specification. Sitting within Walpole Park in central Ealing and similar to
his main London home at 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, now The Sir John Soane’s Museum,

Pitzhanger contains some of his most impressive interiors with vaulted ceilings, interconnecting
rooms, inset mirrors and stripped back classical detailing. Soane sold Pitzhanger in 1810 and it
passed through several hands until, in 1843, it became home to the daughters of Britain's only
assassinated Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval.

Ealing Council partially restored the House in the 1980s, but this is the first major project aimed at revealing further rooms, completing the restoration project, improving the visitor experience and enhancing the opportunities for people to enjoy and appreciate an outstanding part of West
London’s heritage.

Leader of Ealing Council and Pitzhanger Manor trustee, Councillor Julian Bell, said:

“Pitzhanger Manor House is a vital and important community asset. The House holds a great deal of local history and stands in a prominent location in central Ealing, so it is no wonder many people regard it with a huge amount of affection.

''I am delighted to be a member of the Pitzhanger Manor Trust and to work with the other trustees to preserve and enhance the site for future generations, as well as promote its countless education and leisure opportunities. Fundraising and public awareness are now key to the success of the restoration project and I hope our efforts will unlock the funding needed for the project.”

In April 2012, Pitzhanger was awarded a first-round pass and development grant of £275,000 by the HLF to conduct surveys, consultation and to develop its proposals. A further bid for funding from the HLF will be made towards the end of 2013, with an announcement due in early 2014. If the HLF funding application is successful, Pitzhanger will close to the public in summer/autumn 2014, re- opening in spring 2016.

Full details of the project, including architect’s plans and designs for the site will be revealed in
spring 2013 as the project is launched officially.







21st January 2013 

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