Charleston awarded £25,000 Historic England Grant

Charleston is one of 70 projects to benefit from Historic England’s Covid-19 emergency grants to help the recovery of the heritage sector.

Charleston is one of 70 projects to benefit from Historic England’s Covid-19 emergency grants to help the recovery of the heritage sector. The charity has been awarded a grant of £25,000 to help preserve its hand-painted interiors and unique collection of art, furniture, textiles and ceramics by Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and their contemporaries.

The dining room at Charleston. Over the years guests at this convivial table included Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry, E. M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, T. S. Eliot and many more. Photograph © Penelope Fewster.

Charleston, which ordinarily receives no public funding and has no reserves or endowments to fall back on, launched an Emergency Appeal in March to recover losses of more than £600,000 following its closure and the cancellation of Charleston Festival due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fragile nature of the farmhouse, its decorations and its collections present many conservation challenges, even when the site is closed to visitors. As well as supporting the ongoing conservation challenges of climate control, insurance and security, the grant will help to cover the salaries of three vital staff members: a conservation cleaner to provide insect and pest cleaning of the house and its collections; a gardener to maintain the restored gardens; and an operations manager to maintain the complex rural site.

Nathaniel Hepburn, Director and Chief Executive, The Charleston Trust said:

“Charleston is one of the world’s most important artists’ homes and we are hugely grateful to Historic England for providing a grant to cover some of the essential costs needed to preserve the house, garden and its collections. After doubling our number of visitors in 2019, we were at a hugely exciting point in our journey to Charleston becoming a truly public cultural centre. This grant is an important step towards being able to stabilise the charity and demonstrates the critical importance of Charleston as part of the nation’s cultural treasures which are still very much at risk.”

Other projects to benefit from the emergency grants include Henry VIII’s warship The Mary Rose in Portsmouth; Grade II* listed St Ann’s Allotments in Nottingham; the Old Low Light Heritage and Community Centre in North Shields; and digital engagement specialist LP Archaeology.

Heritage Minister, Nigel Huddleston said:

“These grants from Historic England will provide valuable help to heritage organisations across the country during this challenging time. This is on top of an unprecedented package of government support. Our heritage is of huge importance, creating jobs, boosting local economies and attracting visitors and it is of utmost importance that we do all we can to support the organisations that take care of it.”

Visit Historic England’s website to find out more about the grants and their work to help people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment.