Highgate’s Lauderdale House closes for year as £2.3million transformation begins

It was a bittersweet moment as the small team of staff and volunteers of Lauderdale House loaded up the moving van with furniture in the final days before the doors were locked for a year on Sunday.

It marks the start of the long-awaited £2.3million transformation project, which will secure the future of the Highgate arts and education centre for generations, and equip it with much-needed modern facilities.

The 16th-century mansion in Waterlow Park is now officially closed to the public until next summer while the renovation works take place – leaving the normally bustling house empty.

Director Katherine Ives admits she felt a little sad when she closed the house to the public.

But she added: “We’re really geared up to move on and get started. We’re excited about coming back, and we’ve got a huge amount of work to do in the meantime.”

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Lauderdale House team, £2.1million has been raised for the restoration project.

But they still need to find £250,000 to put the finishing touches to the renovation.

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“It’s the support of the community that has got us this far,” says Ms Ives. “But there is this shortfall which we need to make up and there’s an opportunity here to really create something different but exciting for north London.”

The closure of the house has not put a stop to the myriad of activities and events that the centre usually hosts.

Regular classes and fundraising events will instead be held at venues across Highgate as part of a season called Pop Up Lauderdale, including at The Bull pub in North Road and the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution in South Grove.

Ms Ives said: “This part of the transition shows how adaptable we have to be, and how adaptable we are.”

For more information, visit lauderdalehouse.org.uk.