The Trust has supported this project from the outset. Val Bott, our then Chairman, drafted a bid for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund as a donation to Hounslow Council. They completed the bid and the application was successful. The Trust undertook to contribute £5,000 towards the partnership funding required and also to put in considerable volunteer time towards a number of tasks.
Trustees Francis Ames-Lewis, Val Bott, Vanda Foster, Sheila O’Connell, Treve Rosoman and Lars Tharp are members of the project steering group. They are planning an imaginative new approach to the interpretation of the House, its past residents and its place in London and Chiswick history.
The restoration work had been completed by the end of July 2009, and the contractors had handed it back and left the site. Work was progressing on planning the new interpretation scheme, though no collections or displays had then been installed. However, in mid August a fire broke out in the cupboard under the staircase where the electricity supply enters the House. Fortunately damage was minimised by the swift action of the Chiswick firemen and no-one was hurt.
It has taken 18 months to resolve insurance issues and obtain Listed Building Consent for the refurbishment work required. Contractors are expected to be on site from February to at least July 2011, then new displays will be installed. The House will re-open in November 2011.