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Lifeline Grant to Restore 15th-Century Decorative Ceiling at West Horsley Place

Published on: 11 Feb, 2021
Updated on: 14 Feb, 2021

The Geraldine Room ceiling at West Horsley Place © Richard Lewisohn

A government grant of £13, 600 has been awarded to West Horsley Place Trust for repair and restoration of the damaged decorative ceiling of their Geraldine Room that dates from 1547.

The ceiling is believed to be the oldest surviving decorative plaster ceiling in England, but it is now in a very poor state.

The grant, from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, will enable the charity to fund surveys and investigations to enable repairs, with research that will also enhance understanding about ceilings of this type.

Lifeline grants from the fund are designed to protect heritage sites and ensure jobs and access to culture and heritage in local communities are protected.

Grants of up to £25,000 are being allocated to cherished heritage sites, such as West Horsley Place, to cover urgently needed maintenance and repairs. This cash injection will also protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors during the pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities.

“We’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it’s there for future generations to enjoy.”

West Horsley Place

West Horsley Place is an ancient 380-acre estate between the villages of West and East Horsley, at the centre of which stands the Grade I-listed 15th-century manor house, now in urgent need of repair.

The Trust was established in 2015 to conserve and repair the manor and estate so they can be enjoyed by visitors.

Ben Pearce, the Trust director, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding. It will help us learn more about and save a unique part of England’s heritage. The funding will also help our charity take a step closer to opening this part of the manor so it can be seen and enjoyed by our community.”

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, which was also behind the grant, said: “This funding is a lifeline which is kick-starting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of Covid-19.

“It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”

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Responses to Lifeline Grant to Restore 15th-Century Decorative Ceiling at West Horsley Place

  1. David Roberts Reply

    February 11, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    Excellent news. West Horsley Place is a Russian doll of a house, its timbered Tudor structures hidden inside its 17th-century Dutch-style brick cladding. This ceiling is one of its most memorable features.

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