Museum team in fundraising trek from John Constable’s hometown to Hampstead

To mark the 200th anniversary of artist John Constable’s first visit to Hampstead, a team of museum staff are retracing his footsteps with an epic trek from his birthplace to the village.

The five-man group will travel by bike, fishing boat and steam train from the painter’s birthplace in Flatford Mill to his resting place at Hampstead Parish Church in a bid to raise �5,000 for Burgh House museum in New End Square.

Constable first visited Hampstead in 1812, before moving to the village in the 1820s where he lived until a few years before his death in 1837.

Kate Streeter, who has managed Burgh House for four years, is one of the team set to take part in the “Constable Scramble” on September 20.

“It’s a scramble to get to Hampstead Parish Church under our own steam on alternative transport that would have been available to Constable at the time – although a steam train might be pushing it,” she said.

“We’re camping most nights, so it’s a bit like going back in time except with more Gore-Tex [expensive outdoor wear].”

The team who will set off on the four-day trip with her are Jonathan Williams, Mark Francis, Rebecca Lodge and Ashley Hannerbrink.

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They will hike from Flatford Mill to the coast where they will be taken by boat to Maldon, then through Chelmsford and Epping Forest – boarding a steam train on their way – before finishing up in Hampstead.

Burgh House curator Ms Lodge said: “We want to make a strong connection between Burgh House and other areas of Constable’s life, as well as raising some money along the way.”

The money will go towards running of the Grade I-listed museum, which is set to stage a landmark Constable exhibition in October.

Two-hundred years after the artist first set foot in Hampstead, the museum’s curator will unveil seven paintings and sketches of Hampstead Heath, borrowed from the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The six-month exhibition will run alongside a separate display of depictions of Hampstead Heath from Burgh House’s archive – some which have not seen the light of day for decades.

Ms Streeter said any sponsorship of the Constable Scramble would be most welcome.

Burgh House relies on weddings and private hire for up to 75 per cent of its �150,000 annual running costs.

“We are a small poor charity and don’t get any government funding and we’re going through some pretty tough times, so this is really to promote the house and get people to support a local charity,” said Ms Streeter.

To sponsor the team on its Constable Scramble, visit Burgh House’s website