THE trustees of the former residence of the Bishops of London, Fulham Palace, are seeking £1.45 million to complete restoration of the historic house and gardens, and attract more visitors.
The palace secured £2 million in seed funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in March, but requires new partnerships to complete the third phase of what has been a decade-long undertaking.
The cost of the project, Discovering the Bishop of London’s Palace at Fulham, is expected to total £3.8 million, and restoration is due for completion in 2018.
The initiative was praised by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, at the palace’s annual garden party on Thursday of last week (pictured). “Thanks to the extraordinary team at Fulham Palace, the Heritage Lottery Fund has been confident enough to give us a major grant so that we can continue the next phase in the restoration of this extraordinary place.
“It’s an enormous treat to come here to dream and muse on its history.”
The Garfield Weston Foundation has kick-started fund-raising with a donation of £100,000. The grant will contribute to interpretation, exhibitions, events, training, and new positions for volunteers. The palace has also taken on Russell-Cooke Solicitors as a corporate sponsor.
The chairman of the Fulham Palace Trust, Timothy Ingram, said: “Fulham Palace is a truly magical place. Just 15 years ago it was a ruin, the gardens were abandoned, and we were losing a great part of British history. Now we’re bringing it back to life.”
The site served as a bishop’s residence for more than 12 centuries. The manor house was named Fulham Palace, as its occupants were considered “princes of the Church”.
The chief executive of the Trust, Siân Harrington, said of the project: “Our vision is to engage people and provide an insight, through the stories of the Bishops of London, into over 1300 years of English history, to become one of Britain’s most inspiring historic houses and gardens.”