July 22 2014 Latest news:
Lee-Ann Richards, Reporter
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
An 18th century merchant house is set to be open to the public for the first time thanks to a £1.5million grant.
The National Trust has been given the funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund to open Rainham Hall in the Broadway to the community.
Sue Bowers, head of heritage lottery fund London, said: “Rainham Hall will be able to throw open its doors to the local community and visitors thanks to this project that will help to put the village back on the map in the way that the building’s owner, Captain Harle, had done in the 18th century.”
Called Rainham at the Centre of the World project, the funds will be used to transform Rainham Hall and its Stableblock.
The project will carry out essential conservation work and open the house to the public five days a week for the first time.
The Stableblock will also be conserved and renovated, creating a new cafe, space for hire and school use, second hand bookshop and community exhibition area.
Hilary McGrady, national trust director for London & South East says: “We are delighted to be bringing Rainham Hall to life. Until now, lack of funds had prevented us from conserving Rainham Hall. Now it will be saved for future generations and become a vibrant hub for local people.”
The grade two listed building dates back to the early 18th century.
Built by a merchant and self-styled Captain John Harle, the hall is a special witness of a time when the Thames was the gateway to the world and trade helped to transform London into an international city.
The project is being support by Havering Council.
Councillor Andrew Curtin, cabinet member for culture, towns and communities, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Rainham Hall can now finally be restored and revived to benefit future generations for years to come.
“It’s such an important part of the history of Rainham, and will attract even more visitors from across the borough, which is a key focus for us as part of Rainham Compass, our scheme to regenerate the area. This has already seen significant investment and improvement in the village environment.”