A message from our Patron
“As a supporter of the arts and a native of East Sussex, I discovered in Charleston a unique atmosphere of rural peace and creativity. For thirty years the Charleston Trust has worked to restore and maintain this special, fragile place, preserving the inspiring inheritance of Bloomsbury in Sussex.
Today, the Trust plans to restore the historic farm buildings, construct exciting new spaces in a hidden courtyard and safeguard the tranquil agricultural setting. These buildings will be used for a range of inclusive creative and educational initiatives, keeping the house alive and inspiring the next generation. The survival of Charleston depends on the success of this project. As Patron of The Charleston Trust I am delighted to support the Charleston Centenary Project.”
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall became the Trust’s first Patron in May 2013
Anne Olivier Bell (known to friends as ‘Olivier’) trained as an art historian (Courtauld, 1930s). She worked at the end of the war as part of a special international unit to repatriate works of art displaced by war. She first came to know Charleston in 1950. In 1952 she married Quentin Bell and continued to visit Charleston regularly from this date. She is an acknowledged expert on Bloomsbury and on Charleston’s original collection and interiors, and in the early 1980s helped found the Charleston Trust. She has received honorary doctorates from Sussex and York Universities for her work editing the five volumes of Virginia Woolf’s diaries. In 2014 Anne Olivier Bell was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to the arts and literature.
On 20 June 2016 Olivier celebrated her 100th birthday. Here she is at her centenary party at her Sussex home, just one mile from Charleston.
Professor Farthing was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex up until August 2016. He was formerly Principal and Professor of Medicine at St George’s, University of London, and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Glasgow. He is former President of the British Society of Gastroenterology. He is an academic gastroenterologist whose major research interest is intestinal infection.
Michael Farthing was Editor of Gut from 1996–2002 and is founding Chairman of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics). He is Chair of the Universities UK Health and Social Care Policy Committee and Vice-Chair of the UK Panel for Health and Biomedical Research Integrity.
Jolyon Brewis is currently a Partner with Grimshaw Architects LLP, an architectural practice of more than 450 staff working from 5 international offices. Jolyon has broad experience of leading large teams of people (architects and other professionals) in the delivery of high-profile major projects across multiple sectors, including education, infrastructure, the cultural and energy sectors. He has held Managing Partner and Chief Executive positions within the practice, and led Grimshaw through significant organisational change and rapid growth.
Jolyon was the Lead Architect from 1998 for Eden Project, Cornwall, through four phases of construction including visitor centre, Biomes, internal and external landscaping, office building and education centre.
He was also the Lead Architect for The Laboratory at Dulwich College, a new science building with facades designed in collaboration with Peter Randall-Page RA. There was extensive involvement in a fund-raising campaign alongside the Development Office and Board of Governors.
Jolyon is currently leading design teams on the expansion of Heathrow Airport, new Eden Project destinations in China and a technology innovation centre in London.
Jolyon is a Trustee of Wac Arts, a Hampstead-based charity providing access to performing arts training for young people. He chairs the Buildings and Operations Sub-committee.
Mark Burch is Managing Partner of ARCIS Group, a private equity investment management firm, which he joined in 2002. His previous roles have been in lending and investment banking over more than 20 years. He has a MA from Oxford University and a MBA from Columbia University, New York. He is also a Director of The FSE Group, Chair of the Board of Trustees at The Arts Educational Schools and was a Director of the Hackney Empire theatre from 2002-2010.
Marion Gibbs has taught in a variety of state maintained and independent schools, has tutored for the Open University, taught in two prisons and lectured on extra-mural university courses. She served as an HMI (Schools) immediately before becoming Headmistress of James Allen’s Girls’ School, London, which she led for 21 years. She also co-founded the innovative Southwark Schools’ Learning Partnership in 2003 and directed it until her retirement. She served on the DfE Independent-State School Partnership Forum for many years. Marion is the author of a book on Greek Tragedy, has contributed chapters to books on Classics, inspection, education and headship and wrote a fortnightly column in an education paper. She was awarded a CBE for her services to education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012. She has served as a school governor and has completed terms of office as a trustee of Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Arvon Foundation and the Hellenic Society. Her passions are community action and the arts. She has now returned to Sussex, where she previously lived for many years.
Pippa Harris is a film and television producer. She established Neal Street Productions in 2003, alongside Sam Mendes and Caro Newling, and has produced the films Starter for Ten, Stuart A Life Backwards, and co-produced Jarhead. She also executive produced Things We Lost in the Fire, and the Oscar-nominated Revolutionary Road, as well as the feature documentary We Are Many.
Pippa is the Executive Producer of Call the Midwife, – the most successful new BBC drama series in over ten years, as well as the multi award winning, Penny Dreadful for Sky Atlantic, and BBC Two’s BAFTA winning, The Hollow Crown, a filmed series of Shakespeare’s History plays.
Previously, Pippa was the Head of Drama Commissioning for the BBC where her commissions included The Lost Prince, State of Play and Daniel Deronda and her production credits include the BAFTA winning dramas The Way We Live Now, Care and Warriors.
Pippa sits on the board of BAFTA and is the Chair of their film committee. She is also a Governor of Central School of Speech and Drama, and a Trustee of The Creative Society. In 2015 Pippa was made a Dame in the Dissolution Honours.
Anne Morrison is the chair of BAFTA, the leading charity in the UK supporting, developing and promoting the art forms of the moving image. It celebrates excellence through its awards ceremonies and stages over 250 events a year, sharing insights from the best practitioners in film, television and games. She is the second woman to chair the Academy in its 67 year history.
Until 2014 she was Director of the BBC Academy, the BBC’s centre for training, which she launched in 2009. Its portfolio includes journalism, production, leadership and technology training as well as new talent schemes for graduate trainees and apprentices. Previously she was responsible for planning and overseeing the dramatic growth of BBC network television from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Anne’s background is principally in television production, working as a producer/director and rising to become Controller, Documentaries and Contemporary Factual at the BBC, responsible for award winning programmes such as Dunkirk, The Secret Policeman, The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, One Life, What Not To Wear and Top Gear.
She is a frequent speaker on issues in the arts and education such as diversity, employability, talent development, creativity and interdisciplinarity.
Anne was educated in Belfast and Churchill College, Cambridge.
Simon Martin is a curator, writer and art historian. He is Co-Director and Artistic Director of Pallant House Gallery, where he oversees the permanent collection and programme of exhibitions, events and publications. He is a Trustee of HOUSE the Brighton Contemporary Art Festival, and the Charleston Trust. He serves on the Courtauld Association Committee; the Chichester Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee; the Churches Conservation Trust Arts Advisory Committee; and the University of Chichester Special Collections and Archives Committee. He has written books and catalogues on Edward Burra, Eduardo Paolozzi, Colin Self, John Tunnard, Leon Underwood, and the thematic ‘Conflict and Conscience: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War’ as well as contributions to numerous other publications on Modern and Contemporary British art.
Virginia Nicholson is a writer and the daughter of Quentin and Anne Olivier Bell. She has chronicled the family in Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and Garden. Her books include Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939, Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War and Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives in War and Peace 1939-1949
David Pickard studied Music at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge before starting his career at the Royal Opera House. In his early career, David worked at the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park and was the Assistant Director for the Japan Festival before becoming Sir John Drummond’s deputy at the European Arts Festival. In 1993 he was appointed Chief Executive of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment where he significantly increased the orchestra’s artistic reputation and international profile, helping to establish the OAE as the pre-eminent period instrument orchestra in the world.
In 2001 he was made General Director of Glyndebourne Festival where throughout his tenure he created an extensive digital programme including online streaming, big screen and cinema relays and broadened the company’s audience base through specially priced performances for young people and a pioneering education programme.
In November 2015, David took up the role of Director of the BBC Proms. New initiatives for his first Proms season included an innovative series called Proms at … exploring music in new spaces around London including the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe and the Bold Tendencies Multi-Storey Car Park in Peckham. Passionate about bringing new audiences to classical music and identifying and nurturing emerging talent, David also made youth music-making and youth audiences a major focus at the 2016 Proms. Initiatives included two Proms devoted to the BBC’s Ten Pieces II project, a series of weekend matinee concerts aimed at family audiences, and a Last Night of the Proms where young musicians were put centre stage.
Charleston Ambassadors continue to be involved in the life of the Charleston Trust with many sitting on Charleston committees.
Nigel Newton is the founder and Chief Executive of Bloomsbury Publishing. He was born and raised in San Francisco. He read English at Selwyn College,Cambridge. After working at Macmillan Publishers, he joined Sidgwick & Jackson. He left Sidgwick in 1986 to start Bloomsbury. Bloomsbury floated on The London Stock Exchange in 1994. Bloomsbury publishes 2,000 books a year and employs 500 people. Bloomsbury authors include JK Rowling, David Guterson, Margaret Atwood, William Boyd, Daniel Goleman, Ben McIntyre, Kate Summerscale, Elizabeth Gilbert, Heston Blumenthal, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Khaled Hosseini.
Nigel Newton serves as Chairman of The British Library Trust, President of Book Aid International, Chairman of The Charleston Trust, Member of the Man Booker Prize Advisory Committee, Trustee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Member of the Executive Committee of The Churchill Centre (UK) and Chair of Rescue The Cuckmere Valley.
Rupert is an author, journalist and critic. He has published a dozen books, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is currently opera critic of The Daily Telegraph and the dance critic for The Mail on Sunday. He is a regular contributor to many publications including The Spectator, TLS, Harpers & Queen, the Los Angeles Times and Vanity Fair.
Hilary Newiss is qualified as a Solicitor and was Head of Intellectual Property at a city law firm. She now sits on boards in the fields of public policy, science, health, IP and the arts. She is currently a Non-Executive Director of the Francis Crick Institute.
Charles Saumarez Smith is an art historian and museum director. He was Director of the National Portrait Gallery, then the National Gallery, and is now Chief Executive of the Royal Academy. He is a former president of the Museums Association.
Frances Spalding is an art historian, biographer and critic. She is an authority on twentieth-century British art and has a broad knowledge of English social and cultural history. Her most recent books were John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art (2009) and Prunella Clough; regions unmapped (2011). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art, and was awarded a CBE in 2005. Books by Francis Spalding are available from The Charleston Shop.
Tom Stuart-Smith is a landscape designer who works in the UK and internationally. He made a garden for The Queen at Windsor Castle for the Golden Jubilee and has also designed 8 gardens for the Chelsea Flower Show over the years which were awarded gold medals.
David was formerly Chief Executive of EMI International and a member of the Executive Committee of Hachette Livre (Lagardere SCA) which involved him both in the music and the publishing industries. He also became closely involved the voluntary sector as a result of work he did with the late Lord Young of Dartington (founder of the Open University and the Consumers Association ). David collaborated with Lord Young in the forming of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and was its first Director.
David recently read Fine Art Painting at the University of the Arts in London and dedicates most of his time to oil painting. He is a trustee of Le Dispensaire Français (the French Clinic) in London and the ExtraSpecial Trust in Bristol.
Simon Watney is a published art historian, lecturer and writer on health. He is a former Senior Lecturer in the history and theory of photography at the Polytechnic of Central London and has published several books on art history. He left the academic world in 1986 to concentrate on practical efforts in fighting AIDS: he chaired the Policy Group and the Health Education Group of the Terrence Higgins Trust and is currently Director of the Red Hot AIDS Charitable Trust. In 1995, The Independent described him as one of the forty most influential gay men in Britain.
Gillian Wolfe CBE is Director of Learning and Public Affairs at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Gillian is the author of several art books for children. She is also a freelance education consultant and Specialist Adviser to the Clore Duffield Foundation Grants Programme and Historic House Association. She is Associate Director of The Georgian Theatre Royal, Trustee of Brighton Pavilion and Museums and Arts4Dementia.
Venetia AbergavennyVenetia Abergavenny is a successful artist (working under the name Venetia Nevill) with exhibitions in New York, London and Sussex. She is married to Christopher, the VI Marquess of Abergavenny and lives at Eridge Park where she is involved in running music festivals, decorative fairs and charity events.
Dinah Casson is an award winning designer and a director of the interior design practice Casson Mann. Established in 1984 in partnership with Roger Mann, this innovative consultancy has set about transforming the world of museums and galleries with its fresh, creative and innovative approach to design. Recent projects have involved the design for the V&A’s Hollywood Costume exhibition and the refurbishment of the V&A’s British Galleries. Currently the studio is working on the World War One galleries for the Imperial War Museum and a museum at Lascaux, Montignac. She has many years of experience as a teacher and was course director of Architecture & Interior Design at the Royal College of Art where she is now an external examiner. She divides her time between London and her home in Sussex.
There are a number of committees that meet throughout the year to focus and discuss areas of programme and activity at Charleston. Many of the trustees are involved in these committees and other individuals who bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise also form part of these committees.
Mark Burch (Chair), Anne Morrison, Nathaniel Hepburn, Julie Tyrrell
Jolyon Brewis (Chair), Mark Burch, Anne Morrison, Michael Farthing, Nathaniel Hepburn, Kristina Sekyere
Simon Martin (Chair), Richard Shone, John Gill, Hilary Lane, Darren Clarke, Nathaniel Hepburn
Directors of Enterprises are: Michael Farthing, Jonathan Prichard
Providing a strategic overview and executive leadership of the Charleston Trust and Charleston Enterprises Ltd.
Nathaniel joined Charleston in October 2017. He previously spent three years as Director of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, and 10 years as Curator of Mascalls Gallery in Kent, in which he established a reputation for programming a diverse range of high-quality exhibitions, developing a specialism in Modern British Art. Nathaniel has curated over 50 exhibitions which have been shown at some of the best museums and galleries across the country including Barbara Hepworth: The Hospital Drawings (with The Hepworth Wakefield and Pallant House Gallery), William Gear (with Towner, Eastbourne and City Art Centre, Edinburgh) and Cedric Morris & Christopher Wood (with Norwich Castle Museum and Falmouth Art Gallery). At Ditchling, this has extended beyond exhibitions to include developing the exciting Big Steam Print and The Village of Type programme, introducing a programme of residencies for artists, makers, designers and writers, as well as leading the nine Sussex museums and galleries, including Charleston, in bringing Sussex Modernism to Two Temple Place.
Nathaniel also was the recipient of the ‘Businessperson of the Year’ at the Lewes District Business Awards in 2017.
Works: Monday – Friday
Direct line: 01323 815159
Developing and delivering Charleston’s two literary festivals, The Charleston Festival and Small Wonder, as well as the rolling public programme of events, workshops, walks and talks
Carolyn has 20 years of experience working in museums in England, Scotland and Canada. She graduated with a Masters degree in Museum Studies from the University of Toronto, and acquired two BAs from Concordia University (Classics and Communication Studies) in her home town of Montreal. Since moving to the UK 18 years ago, she has completed an NVQ in Cultural Heritage Management (Level 3) and an Associateship of the Museums Association (AMA). Before starting with Charleston in 2014, Carolyn managed the Learning Department at the V&A Museum of Childhood for 10 years.
She works closely with Melissa Perkins to devise and deliver high quality inspirational and educational programming for Charleston.
Works: Monday – Friday
Direct line: 01323 815142
Monitoring the condition of the fabric of the buildings, the environmental conditions in the interior and the condition of the collections
Dr Darren Clarke has been involved with Charleston for over a decade and has worked in many areas of the organisation. His latest incarnation is as the Rausing Head of Collections, Research and Exhibitions, looking after the house and collection and interpretation of Charleston as well as ensuring that our visitors get the best experience possible.
He successfully completed an AHRC sponsored Ph.D. in collaboration with the University of Sussex and the Charleston Trust, with a thesis that recontextualises the partnership between the Bloomsbury artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, focusing on geographical and corporeal thresholds. He has also lectured extensively on Bell and Grant and Bloomsbury’s queer heritage.
Works: Monday – Friday
Direct line: 01323 815146
Overseeing the financial management of The Charleston Trust and Charleston Enterprises; including the preparation of management accounts, statutory reporting, treasury management, contracts, VAT and Gift Aid
As Head of Finance, Sarah looks after the overall finance function at Charleston; working closely with Denise McDowell who maintains the day-to-day accounts. Sarah started her finance career with Tenon where she trained in general audit before moving over to their film team after qualification. After a career break volunteering and travelling, she entered the charity world as Financial Controller for BAFTA. Since then she had a brief interlude as a trainee teacher before moving back to charity finance and joining Charleston at this exciting time of change.
Works: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Direct line: 01323 815165
Works: Monday – Friday
Direct line: 01323 815161
Management of the Charleston catering and hospitality programme including the café, catering for events, festivals, workshops and cultivation events with stakeholders and supporters.
Direct line: 01323 811626
Maintenance and management of the historic planting schemes
Fiona joined Charleston in March 2017. Formerly from English Heritage where she managed the Historic and Botanic Garden Bursary Scheme (HBGBS), a garden traineeship program for gardeners developing a career in historic gardens. Fiona worked with gardens all over the UK and is a passionate supporter of practical training for new horticulturists coming into the profession.
Fiona trained at Merrist Wood College, Surrey and began her career as a gardener with the Royal Parks. She became Propagator (Alpine and Herbaceous) at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and during this time gained her Masters in Horticulture. She has extensive overseas experience working with Botanic Gardens Conservation International, in support of which she attained an MSc in Plant Conservation Genetics. Previously an Advisor for the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley and now sits on the Royal Horticultural Society Bursaries Committee.
Direct line: 07512624557 (mobile) or 01323 811626 (main office)
Managing the way in which the general public visit Charleston during the open season.
Works: Wednesday- Sunday plus Bank Holiday Mondays
Direct line: 01323 815164
Programmes and produces the What’s On series of events, performances, creative workshops, talks and walks at Charleston
Melissa has Masters degrees in Theatre Arts from Goldsmiths, and in Dramatic Writing from the University of Sussex. She has background working for Festivals, including the Brighton, Edinburgh and New Zealand Festivals. She also has experience in working with schools, and community engagement.
Direct line: 01323 815144
Camilla studied Art History, Literature and Music through the Open University and completed a Masters in the History of Art and Visual Culture at Oxford University, where she wrote on Roland Penrose. She previously worked at Towner and more recently managed the Oboe Department at a specialist woodwind manufacturer and retailer in London. She is local to Charleston, growing up and living in nearby Chalvington.
Works: Wednesday-Sunday plus Bank Holiday Mondays
Direct line: 01323 815148
The smooth running of the Charleston office facilities such as telephones, IT, photocopier
Marilyn has a degree in Design History from Brighton University, where she first became interested in Charleston, and considers it a privilege to work in such an inspiring place.
Works: Monday-Thursday (9am-2.30pm)
Direct line: 01323 815143
Managing and scheduling meetings with the Director, staff, trustees and key stakeholders.
Kristina previously worked for the University of Reading coordinating their programme of musical activities. On returning to her East Sussex roots, she worked for 6 years for Creative Partnerships, a government funded scheme working with children, young people and creative practitioners.
Works: Tuesday- Friday
Direct line: 01323 815160
Works: Wednesday and Friday
Direct line: 01323 815157
Eleanor comes to Charleston from a literature background, having long been a fan of Bloomsbury and worked at Small Wonder Festival 2015. She has over ten years’ experience working in literary publishing, including at Carcanet Press in Manchester and Myriad in Brighton. As well as editorial, marketing and publicity roles within arts organisations, Eleanor has worked as a freelance editor, an artistic assessor for Arts Council England and a programmer of literature events. She has an MA in English from the University of Cambridge (during which she completed her dissertation on the art of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell) and a postgraduate degree in twentieth-century and contemporary literature from the University of Manchester. She was shortlisted for the 2012 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize for Women in Publishing.
Works: Monday and Thursday
Direct line: 01323 815161
Susie has over 15 years of experience working in the tourism and communications industry, building key skills and competencies needed for effective fundraising. Prior to joining Charleston, Susie spent three years as the Head of PR and Communications at a tourism PR and marketing consultancy, Hills Balfour, in central London. She has worked with international and UK tourist boards, including those for South East England, New York City, Chicago and Hong Kong. At Charleston, she has been able to combine her knowledge and expertise in the tourism sector with her love or the arts and literature.
Susie is a big fan of the diversity of Charleston and its House, Garden and Collection and the fact that it is so multifaceted. She also enjoys working with the variety of different staff at Charleston. Susie loves the outdoors and hence, the beautiful setting of Charleston in the South Downs National Park. In the summer months, she explores new cycle routes to work from her home in Brighton and she is currently learning how to play beach volleyball.
Works: Currently on maternity leave.
Direct line: 01323 815161
Taking an active role in monitoring the environmental control of the showrooms and the condition of all item
Hilary went to Farnham Art College where Quentin Crisp was the ‘life model’ and David Hockney was a guest lecturer. After training as a secondary school ceramics teacher she went on to work at ‘Biba’ in Kensington High Street until it closed down.
After returning to teaching as a primary school teacher, Hilary then gained qualifications as a dyslexia specialist, going on to head a unit for dyslexic primary children and training teachers across Brighton & Hove. After some years as a primary school Senior Leader, Hilary left teaching to return to her artistic roots. Hilary has worked as a volunteer steward at Charleston before gaining the post of Conservation Assistant.
Works: Monday and Tuesday 9am-4pm, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9am-12pm
The Charleston Trust (Bloomsbury in Sussex) is a non profit making company limited by guarantee. Registered charity number 1107313. Registered in England and Wales, company number 5212725.
Registered office Charleston, Firle, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 6LL.
The Charleston Trust’s Vision:
The historic embodiment of creative innovation
The Charleston Trust’s Mission statement:
Charleston exists to please, inform and inspire the public about Charleston, Bloomsbury and the arts.
The Charleston Trust’s charitable objectives are:
Further information is available on the Charities Commission website
Please click on the links below for our summarised accounts (PDF download).
The Charleston Trust has one trading subsidiary, Charleston Enterprises Limited which operates the shop and café.
The Charleston Trust owns the share capital of Charleston Enterprises which makes charitable donations out of its taxable profits to the Trust. Charleston Enterprises Ltd. has a separate board of Directors made up of Jonathan Prichard, Dinah Casson and Michael Farthing.
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Learn the beautiful craft by creating a Sciathog, a small, shallow ribbed frame basket traditionally used for straining potatoes.
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Picture Credit: Helen Brown Learn the processes of woodcut printmaking, with tutor Helen Brown, from design More