The Country Houses Foundation (CHF) has awarded Gunnersbury Park £75,000 towards the repair, conservation and renovation of the Drawing Room in Gunnersbury Park Large Mansion.
This award supports the current extensive restoration of the heritage buildings and parkland as part of the £51m programme to return Gunnersbury Park to its former glory. The Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England are anchor funders for the heritage elements of the programme.
The Drawing Room retains its original architectural features including the monogram of Nathan Mayer Rothschild, the founder of the British branch of the Rothschilds, golden carrier pigeons reminding us of the extensive Rothschild messaging system established across Europe, and golden lyres indicating how the room was to be used for musical entertainment.
Boasting three large windows that open out to the south lawns, the Drawing Room enabled the Rothschilds to entertain their guests both inside and outside. Leonora de Rothschild, eldest daughter of Lionel and Charlotte de Rothschild, was married in a lavish ceremony in the Drawing Room in 1857, which was reported throughout the society press. An engraving clearly shows the event extending out of the room and onto the terrace demonstrating the importance of the gardens to the Rothschild family.
Gunnersbury Large Mansion was the first Rothschild country residence in England and the interiors of the principal rooms are seen as a precursor to the increasingly luxurious interiors of later grand houses in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.
The Gunnersbury Restoration project will see the restoration of the park’s historic buildings (22 Grade II and II* structures), the re-imagining of the local museum, the restoration of lost and deteriorated landscape features and planting and the establishment of a new sports hub building.
Many of the structures, and the park itself, have been on Historic England’s “At Risk” register for a number of years. Ealing and Hounslow councils have worked closely with the Heritage Lottery Fund to draw up comprehensive plans to rescue the estate and place it on a firm foundation, so it can continue to serve the local community for generations to come.
Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “We’re extremely grateful for the Country Houses Foundation’s award to the Large Mansion project.
“It’s through the help of charitable foundations, heritage organisations and the commitment of volunteers and local supporters that Gunnersbury will be restored and become, once again, a major heritage and recreation site.
“I’m sure that all supporters of the park will join me in thanking the Country Houses Foundation for this grant.”
Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, said: “It is fantastic news that we have secured funding from the Country Houses Foundation to help renovate the Large Mansion’s Drawing Room.
“Gunnersbury is an architectural treasure that is being transformed into a first class visitor attraction that people will be able to enjoy for generations to come.”
To find out more on how you can support Gunnersbury Park, please visit the website www.visitgunnersbury.org