Highgate’s Lauderdale House set for �2million makeover

Lauderdale House, Highgate’s Elizabethan gem, is to have a complete �2million overhaul.

The 1582 house, which sits in the attractive grounds of Waterlow Park, is set for a transformation that will see its less attractive 1970s buildings reduced to rubble and reconstructed in 2013.

The project, to be called Lauderdale Transformed, will comprise a new glass-fronted learning centre with direct access to the park, a new reception area from which visitors can look in through the glass atrium to identify the shape and sense of the original 16th century building, and improved toilets, baby changing facilities and even lighting.

A second entrance to the side of the house will also be added, enabling members of the public to use the house when events are taking place in the front gallery.

The grade II* listed house, which has been host to countless weddings, birthday parties and Saturday puppet shows over the years, has an important place in many a Highgate resident’s heart – and luckily the biggest development in decades is in good hands.

The architect leading the ambitious project, Euan Durston, of Haines Phillips, was married at the house 10 years ago last week.

He said: “It is weird how these things come around – it is really nice to feel some attachment to the place we are working on.

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“My wife and I quite often drop by and it will be a great event to go back when we launch the new house.”

Mr Durston said that there are two main aspects to the multi-million pound project: “First we will be unlocking the history and heritage of the building and making that more transparent and easier to understand for people visiting the house, by refurbishing and renovating the original building.

“But we are also determined to ensure its continuing success by making sure that it can function in the modern world – the new building will be accessible in terms of disabled access and more modern facilities for visiting school groups – education access to make sure that side of the house continues to thrive.”

Lauderdale House’s general manager Katherine Ives said she was “hugely excited” about the project.

She said: “It is lots and lots of work and we will need a lot of help but it’s also really excited to be involved in something like this, something that will protect the future of the building.

“It is wonderful that we know we can now ‘future- proof’ a building that people locally have a real affection for.”