Tiny team of volunteers raise £1.8million to secure future of Highgate’s historic Lauderdale House
A mammoth effort to secure the future of one of Highgate’s best loved historic houses has seen almost £1.8million raised by a tiny team of volunteers.
When staff at Lauderdale House, in Waterlow Park, first announced plans to raise £2.1million to help restore the Grade II listed building 18 months ago, it seemed they had an almost impossible task ahead of them.
At the heart of the campaign was a new vision for the future of Lauderdale - to allow it to expand its education work with hundreds of school children every year, some from Camden’s most deprived estates, and increase income so the house was less reliant on a dwindling pool of subsidy.
Plans were unveiled for the addition of striking glass-fronted workshop to provide a state-of-the-art teaching space alongside redevelopment of a warren of former servants’ quarters at the rear of the house to achieve this vision.
The finish line is now in sight, as a final push to secure the remaining £333,000 by next spring was announced at the annual general meeting on Wednesday.
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Director Katherine Ives said: “Donations so far have ranged from the contents of someone’s penny jar to an enormously significant £1.2million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“We are working hard to ‘close the gap’ and appealing to everyone to help us make our dream for the community a reality.”
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The Lauderdale Transformed appeal, supported by the Ham&High, has announced its next series of events.
These begin with a romantic luxury picnic at this year’s Tea Lawn production of Romeo and Juliet on Friday, which includes a hamper and bottle of Prosecco for £50 a head.
Later in the autumn, theatre director Richard Digby Day will be in conversation with Claire Bloom CBE, whose acting career encompasses appearances with Charlie Chaplin, leading roles in A Streetcar Named Desire, and most recently appearing as the Queen Mother in The King’s Speech.
In September Peter Barber OBE, head of maps at the British Library, will lead a tour explaining Lauderdale’s history for London’s Open House weekend.
Ms Ives said: “This project is so important - it enables us to not only carry on our creative programme and preserve this amazing historic house, but also to expand what we do and guarantee our future, no longer dependent on grant income.
“We know that there are a lot of people who live in this area of north London who do care about the community. If just one or two of them would input about the campaign that would have an immense impact.”
If the money is raised, Lauderdale hopes to start building work in autumn 2015 and re-open a year later.
For more information and details of how to donate or get involved, visit lauderdalehouse.org.uk/page.asp?ID=538