West Horsley Place Trust in Surrey has received a financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help towards important repairs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lifeline grants from the Culture Recovery Fund are designed to protect heritage sites and ensure that jobs and access to culture and heritage in local communities are protected during the months ahead.
West Horsley Place Trust has been awarded £13,648 towards urgent repairs to the decorative ceiling of the Geraldine Room at West Horsley Place. The ceiling, which dates from 1547, is believed to be the oldest surviving decorative plaster ceiling in England, but it is now in a very poor state. This grant will enable the charity to carry out surveys and investigations which will inform vital conservation repairs, and this research will also enhance understanding about ceilings of this type.
Grants of up to £25,000 are being allocated to cherished heritage sites, like West Horsley Place, across the country to cover urgently needed maintenance and repairs. This vital funding comes from a part of the Culture Recovery Fund called the Heritage Stimulus Fund and is administered on behalf of the government by Historic England.
As well as rescuing precious heritage buildings in need, the injection of cash will protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors working in the sector.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities. We’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it’s there for future generations to enjoy.”
West Horsley Place is an ancient 380-acre estate located between the Surrey villages of West and East Horsley, at the centre of which stands a Grade I listed manor house dating from the 15th century – which is now in urgent need of repair. The West Horsley Place Trust was established in 2015 to conserve and repair the manor house and surrounding estate so that they can be enjoyed by the public. The Trust is seeking to establish at West Horsley Place a welcoming space for the community to share and enjoy with arts, culture, history and nature at its heart.
Ben Pearce, Director of West Horsley Place Trust, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding from the Culture Recovery Fund. It will help us to learn more about and save a unique part of England’s heritage. The funding will help our charity take a step closer to opening this part of the House so it can be seen and enjoyed by our community.”
Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive said: “Historic places across the country are being supported by the Government’s grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding is a lifeline which is kick-starting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19.
“It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”
Image: The Geraldine Room ceiling at West Horsley Place, which dates from 1547, is believed to be the oldest surviving decorative plaster ceiling in England.