The Society's headquarters are being refurbished in 2019
2019 marks a milestone in the life of the Victorian Society. Its handsome headquarters building in Priory Gardens, Bedford Park, West London, is to be thoroughly overhauled and renovated. The renovation comes none too soon. The Society moved to Bedford Park in 1975 and only minor changes have been made to the premises since then, despite the inexorable growth and changes in the staff’s activities and workload. Provision for IT and the other services the Society relies on to play its vital role in conservation and keep in good touch with the membership urgently require modernizing. Accessibility issues must also be addressed, while the whole accommodation needs updating and refurbishing.
Last year, after prolonged investigations to see if it would be more economic for the Society to move to new premises, the Trustees resolved that the wiser course was to stay in Bedford Park and upgrade the Priory Gardens building. This will take place from April, and the staff will be temporarily accommodated at 70 Cowcross Street, Clerkenwell. In 2020 they will return to an enhanced and refreshed working environment.
1 Priory Gardens, designed in 1880 by the architect E.J.May as part of the famous aesthetic suburb of Bedford Park, is a fine ‘Queen Anne revival’ listed building. While the thrust of the present project is overwhelmingly practical, the Society is also [rightly] committed to making the restoration of this historic building an exemplary one. The Trustees are employing as architect John Scott, of Oliver West & John Scott, who is based in Bedford Park, has worked on many other houses there, and will be familiar to many members as Chair of the Society’s Southern Buildings Committee. John has made a thorough study of the building’s history as well as of its present condition, and his designs are the outcome of these researches.
Though most of the work is of a detailed character, two significant changes are involved. One is the creation of a new room on the site of the long-demolished conservatory at the back of the building. The other is the relocation of the main entrance from Bath Road to Priory Gardens, a change made for reasons of level access, though the old front door facing Bath Road will be retained. The scheme has received Listed Building Consent from the London Borough of Hounslow.
The funds raised for the works so far do not extend to the kind of finishing which we should like to see in a internal refurbishment of a listed Victorian building – with restored chimneypieces, carpets, curtain and blinds, wallpapers and paint colours fitting for a domestic interior of the Aesthetic Movement. To complete the job in the exemplary way we should all expect, the Society therefore wishes to appeal to the membership and other supporters, and is launching an appeal for the additional money to ensure that the more public areas of the premises -especially the staircase hall and the committee room - be finished off in proper and fitting style.
Donations can be made via PayPal through the 'Donate' button at the bottom of this page. Alternatively, cheques can be sent to our offices; they should be marked ‘Priory Gardens refurbishment’ on the back. Please give generously. If just a hundred people were prepared to give a generous £200 each, the finishing of the premises will be transformed. Smaller sums will of course be just as warmly welcomed.