FULHAM PALACE, the historic residence of the Bishops of London, reopened to the public at the end of last month, after a £3.8-million restoration project.
The Tudor great hall has been restored, and a new museum has been introduced. The gardens and landscaping have also been transformed: an attempt has been made return them to their heyday under Bishop Compton in the 17th century.
The CEO of Fulham Palace Trust, Siân Harrington, said: “The project marks a real change in the way Fulham Palace is enjoyed and understood for generations to come. We look forward to sharing the stories of the Palace — which was home to the Bishops of London for well over a millennium — with our visitors.”
The palace was vacated in 1973, but the bishops had been leaving their mark on the estate since 704. In the main porch, carvings of the faces of Bishop Howley and his wife, dating from the 19th century, were discovered on the walls. They had been heavily painted over in the intervening period, and had lost their distinctive features.
Bishop Compton left his mark in a different way. He introduced the first magnolia to Europe in Fulham Palace garden, Magnolia virginiana.
The first temporary exhibition at the new museum features all the archaeological finds that were discovered during the restoration.
The site’s community archaeologist, Alexis Haslam, said: “We invariably found something intriguing, be it struck flint from the prehistoric period . . . or decorated clay tobacco pipes.”