HLF Awards Development Funding for Kelmscott Manor

Kelmscott Manor secured for the future with a £4.7 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given initial support for a £4.7 million grant and awarded £334,800 toward the first (development) stage of a £6 million project to secure the future of Kelmscott Manor, the former Cotswolds retreat of William Morris, which is owned by the Society of Antiquaries of London and open to the public as a historic house and museum attraction.

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “William Morris’s time at Kelmscott had a strong influence on his conservation beliefs, so it’s fitting that this project will bring a number of historic buildings at the site back into use as well as complete some much-needed restoration.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, physical and virtual access to the heritage and legacy of Kelmscott and Morris will be transformed, and we’re delighted to support these plans.”

Development stage funding will enable the Society of Antiquaries to draw up proposals to double visitor numbers, improve visitor facilities at the Manor (including re-interpretation of the house and wider estate) and undertake vital conservation work.

Gill Andrews, President of the Society of Antiquaries of London, said: “Our vision for the finished project is that visitors to the site will be able to explore the inspirational impact that Kelmscott had on William Morris and how this manifested itself in his work, and to appreciate his enduring worldwide legacy.”

Kelmscott Manor is intrinsically linked with the story of the English designer, writer and social activist. Many of Morris’ works were inspired by the historic and natural environment of Kelmscott which helped shape his views on conservation. Morris once observed that the buildings looked as if they had "grown up out of the soil". Today, Kelmscott Manor encompasses an incredible collection with listed buildings dating back to the 16th-century housing furniture, pictures and textiles, including many pieces created by Morris.

The Grade I-listed manor and Grade II-listed barns, estate and collections will be re-interpreted and displayed to provide a deeper understanding of their history and significance. Design work will draw on the principles established in the Kelmscott Manor Conservation Management Plan (2013) and will be informed by new research into primary sources – including drawings, photographs, letters and diaries – spanning the duration of the Morris family’s occupation of Kelmscott Manor. The Society will appoint a project manager, design team and specialist consultants later this year, and plan to complete the detailed design work and submit an application to HLF for the second stage of funding by December 2017.

The development stage of the project has also been supported by Arts Council England, The Country Houses Foundation, The CL Loyd Charitable Trust, The Aurelius Charitable Trust, The Architectural Heritage Fund and the John Langer Foundation.

If the Society is successful in its second-round application to HLF, it will need to raise an additional £1.4 million in match funding.

Further Information for Editors and Writers

A media pack, including a copy of this press release and images of Kelmscott Manor, are available for download (click here).

For further information about this or forthcoming events, photographs or queries relating to this press release, please contact Communications Officer Renée LaDue, by email at rladue@sal.org.uk or by telephone at 020 7479 7086.

About Kelmscott Manor

Kelmscott Manor was the former Cotswolds retreat of William Morris, his family and his circle. The Manor is owned by the Society of Antiquaries of London, of which William Morris was a Fellow. The Manor was honored with the ‘Excellence Award for Best Attraction or Activity’ by TravelZoo in 2015, received the ‘Best Small Visitor Attraction – Gold Award’ in 2014 from Cotswold Tourism, was shortlisted in 2014 and 2013 by the Museum and Heritage Awards and Guardian CulturePros Network as the ‘Most Inspiring Museum or Heritage Attraction in the UK’, and has received certificates of excellence as a visitor attraction from TripAdvisor for several years running.

Kelmscott Manor attracts approximately 21,000 visitors a year, and is open Wednesdays and Saturdays (11am to 5pm) from 2 April to 29 October. More information about visiting the Manor can be found online at www.kelmscottmanor.org.uk. Twitter: @KelmscottManor. Find us on Facebook!

About the Society of Antiquaries of London

Founded 1707, the Society of Antiquaries of London is Britain’s oldest learned society concerned with the study and understanding of the material past. Our Royal Charter of 1751 sets out our purpose as ‘the encouragement, advancement and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities and history of this and other countries’. Today the Society is a registered charity (207237) with an elected Fellowship of more than 3,000. Our principal objectives are to foster public understanding of heritage, support research and communicate the results, and to inform public policy on the care of the historic environment and cultural assets. We support these objectives through our historic research Library and Accredited Museum collections at Burlington House (London) and Kelmscott Manor (Oxfordshire), conservation and research grants, publications and public events like exhibitions and lectures.

More information about the Society and its activities and collections can be found on this website. Twitter: @SocAntiquaries. Find us on Facebook!

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Website: www.hlf.org.uk. Twitter: @heritagelottery

* Heritage Enterprise and Heritage Grants applications are assessed in two rounds.  A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

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