Jan 25 2013 By Michael Russell
Pitzhanger Manor in Walpole Park, Ealing
PITZHANGER Manor, one of the borough’s most treasured landmarks and the 19th century retreat of one of Britain’s greatest architects is to undergo an £8million restoration.
Sir John Soane’s ‘dream house’ in Walpole Park, Ealing, will be completely restored and turned into an arts venue. Concerts will be added to the existing programme of exhibitions.
The PM Gallery, the 1940s extension to the house built on the site of Soane’s mock Roman ruins and now west London’s largest gallery space will also undergo improvements. Enhanced security will enable high quality exhibitions.
A new cafe and visitor centre will be set up within the house. Another cafe and classrooms are to be built in Walpole Park with landscaping and conservation work funded by an extra £5.2m already received from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Ealing resident and former British ambassador to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Israel is chairman of a new trust spearheading the project.
He said: “This is a vital moment for one of the country’s finest buildings – a place that was very dear to Sir John Soane.
“A successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid and fundraising campaign will propel Pitzhanger into a secure future in which it becomes a sophisticated heritage and arts venue, continuing to serve local audiences but becoming an intriguing historic destination for lovers of art and architecture from all over London, the UK and beyond.”
The restoration will reveal more rooms, rip out 20th Century features and use paint analysis to restore the original colour scheme. Visitors will be presented with a history of Soane’s time at the house thanks to new research.
Council leader and trustee Julian Bell said: “The house holds a great deal of local history and stands in a prominent location in central Ealing, so it is no wonder many people regard it with a huge amount of affection.
“Fundraising and public awareness are now key to the success of the restoration project.”
About £3m is in place and the trust now needs to raise the rest. The initial £275,000 cost of developing the proposals was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.