From the Director
HOLT's recent months have passed in a blaze of activity. We've had restoration projects on the go in 20 London boroughs from Hounslow to Hackney and our work continues to expand, with fundraising having to keep pace. Projects complete on average within a year from first planning, with wonderful local feedback on their impact.
Our Patron HRH The Duke of Gloucester continues to be a fantastic support. We took The Duke to three of our west London projects this summer in the boroughs of Hounslow and Hillingdon, to meet the local Mayor, VIPs and project teams. In July he joined us to unveil the newly restored statue of the actress Sarah Siddons on Paddington Green (above).
Our conference at the Society of Antiquaries in July - 'London's Anatomy: Victorian Buildings from Top to Toe' - was a huge success and for the first time we had exhibitors with us for the day - a chance to see a stained glass studio at work, hand made bricks and ironwork.
In September we hosted the Met Commissioner Cressida Dick as our guest speaker for our annual lunch at Canary Wharf. We had a glorious afternoon in November with a lecture by The Duke on Baroque Architecture at Buckingham Palace. For photos of all this and more, see our news page on the website.
And soon HOLT will be celebrating its 40th anniversary! Looking ahead to 2020, we'll be developing our exciting new strand of schools' work. Since May we've given talks about London's heritage to 100 school pupils from primary and secondary schools in the boroughs of Wandsworth, Westminster and Lewisham - both at their schools and out at our sites. In the New Year we'll be developing this further including appointing a HOLT education officer.
None of this would be possible without your support. We would love you to become a HOLT Patron and join us for events and visits across London. There'll be a big 40th anniversary dinner. We continue to raise all our money independently and are so grateful to all our donors - private individuals and organisations - who share our belief in the vital role heritage can play in our lives.
To all who have supported us in 2019, a huge thank you & all good wishes for the holidays.
Dr Nicola Stacey
Wren Spire, Forest Hill
St Antholin's was a medieval church in the City, rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren in 1682 after the Great Fire. In 1829, Wren's spire was damaged in a storm but it was rescued by one of the churchwardens, the printing pioneer Robert Harrild (1780-1853). Harrild transported the spire by horse and cart down to his house in Forest Hill and re-erected it on a brick plinth in his garden. When his house was demolished and replaced with a housing estate in the 1960s, the spire, plus a cedar tree remained in the middle of the estate.
HOLT restored the spire this autumn, repaired its stonework and regilded the weathervane. We celebrated with a launch party for all the community in November - with the ribbon cut by a local school pupil!
The Wren Spire, Round Hill, Forest Hill, SE26 4RG
Sarah Siddons statue, Paddington
Sarah Siddons was the most famous tragic actress of the 18th century. Born in Warwickshire, her first theatre performance was in 1774 and until her retirement in 1812 she dominated the London theatre scene. Expressive and brilliant, audiences swooned and public interest was phenomenal. Her funeral in Paddington Green attracted 5,000 people.
Her white marble statue by Leon-Joseph Chavaillard had been badly vandalised six years ago, and HOLT led a project to restore it this summer. Working from archive images and the many contemporary portraits of the actress, sculptors modelled her features in a hard wax (right) and then recarved them in marble.
HOLT brought school children to visit, learn about Sarah Siddons and meet the conservators, and the finished statue was unveiled in July.
Paddington Green, London W2 1LG
Reliance Arcade, Brixton
The 1920s Egyptian-style facade of Brixton's Reliance Arcade has been restored over the summer. Colourful faience tiles and original glass signage on this busy shopping arcade have been repaired and repainted and all intrusive wiring boxes removed. Its wonderful imaginary 'tomb' entrance will be revealed next week from beneath the hoarding.
Electric Lane, London, SW9 8LA
For a short film featuring this & other projects see here:
St Leonard's Clock, Shoreditch
St Leonard's was rebuilt in the 18th century by George Dance the Elder, Wren's pupil and architect of the Mansion House. Its Portland stone tower is 194 foot high with a handsome four faced clock. The clock was not working - its mechanism a pigeon nesting site - and the dials and hands had corroded.
HOLT supported the restoration and regilding of the clock faces as part of a project this autumn to restore the crumbling tower. Thwaites & Reed, the 18th century clock-makers, have led the work.
St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JN
Aldgate Pump, City of London
One of the most interesting of London's historic fountains, the Aldgate Pump is an 18th century pump on the site of a medieval well. It is mentioned in Dickens and has a notorious 19th century history, when grisly sediment from local graveyards contaminated its drinking water. Its handsome iron lantern on top had been lost around 1900 and the stonework was worn and damaged. HOLT led a project to restore the pump - a new lantern has been installed, the stone (and wolf's head) repaired and the final stage will be the City of London reconnecting the water to the mains in the New Year.
65-68 Leadenhall St, London EC3A 2AD
Boston Manor House, Hounslow
One of the most exciting 17th century houses in London, Boston Manor House was built by Lady Mary Reade in 1620. It is full of architectural interest and its 18th century wallpaper featuring classical ruins, sphinxes and 'Grand Tour' figures has no known matches in the world. While major work continues until 2021 on new landscaping, public spaces and a cafe, Allyson McDermott, historic wallpaper expert, has been conserving Boston Manor's wallpaper with a HOLT grant.
Boston Manor Rd, Brentford TW8 9JX
Columbia Market Gates, Bethnal Green
Old Columbia Market is one of London's saddest historic losses. Built by wealthy philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts in 1869 to support London's market traders, it was an architectural marvel, with 400 stalls, cloisters, a grand clock tower and gatehouse all set over a two acre site. But within forty years of construction its spaces had been turned over to workshops and in 1958 the entire complex was pulled down. Only the gates survive. HOLT is leading a restoration project with a grant of £15,000 and will be working with the nursery school now on the site and the local authority.
Columbia Road, E2 7PG
HOLT's annual conference
Our summer conference 'London's Anatomy' - on the craftsmanship and technology of Victorian buildings - bricks, terracotta, stained glass, ironwork, architectural lettering, clock-making, Doulton ware, wall paintings - was packed with 20 London boroughs represented and 130 delegates. Speakers included Alex Werner, lead curator for the new Museum of London in Smithfield and John Pelton, director of the Palace of Westminster's Restoration & Renewal programme. Thank you to our sponsor Native Land, the many volunteers who supported us on the day and of course everyone who came!
HOLT's work with schools
As well as a schools' session at the Sarah Siddons' statue for Paddington Academy pupils, we ran schools' sessions in Putney and Lewisham over recent months. We discussed west London's heritage with pupils in Putney and primary and secondary pupils in Lewisham visited our Wren Spire project, learnt about Christopher Wren's achievements & legacy, discovered different Wren spires across London and the process of stone restoration. Holy Trinity School returned for the launch party and cut the ribbon. We've reached 100 pupils so far and will be extending this programme in the New Year.
A Short History of London
Would you like a free copy of Simon Jenkins' new book 'A Short History of London'? We've partnered with Penguin Books to give you the chance of winning one. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of you at one of HOLT's projects. Any site, past or present!
The first five readers who send a photo will get a book.