AN ARTISTIC legend is set to be immortalised as the campaign to build a gallery showcasing William Heath Robinson’s work takes a huge step forward.
Set to be built alongside West House, in Pinner Memorial Park, Chapel Lane, Pinner, the William Heath Robinson Museum would display the works of the local legend, if planning permission is approved.
The William Heath Robinson Trust has given West House 600 original works on permanent loan, but the building is only fit to showcase 20 to 25 of the pieces, which is why the museum is so desperately needed.
The artist, known for illustrating children’s books and drawing eccentric machines, did some of his most celebrated works while living in Pinner, from 1908 to 1918, and a plaque still hangs at his former Moss Lane home.
Martin Verden, who has been involved in the West House restoration project since 1990 and is former president of The Pinner Association, said: “We did a deal with the William Heath Robinson Trust and said we would do our best to show the works, but our gallery at the moment is very small, so we are not really fulfilling our obligation to the trust and we know we need a permanent museum.”
The application, submitted on Wednesday last week details the plans for a two-storey museum that will include an activity room to be used by visitors, such as school trips. Part of the existing gallery, in West House, would be converted into a staff room for volunteers.
The West House and Heath Robinson Trusts applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which said it could be willing to grant £1million should the trust locate the rest of the required funds, believed to be £400,000.
Mr Verden added: “He was a wonderful person who was able to take the mickey out of people’s pomposity without being offensive or hurtful. It makes you realise what a sympathetic man he was.
“He was a person who I feel that we have so much to learn from in society and this will be the only exhibition of his work, which is what makes it so exceptional.”
West House was purchased by the people of Pinner in 1948, but it deteriorated and was declared not fit for use in 1990. The Pinner Association, with the backing of the council, saved it for the public for the second time and created The West House & Heath Robinson Museum Trust.
Conservative Pinner councillor Paul Osborn said: “It is just amazing the work that a small group of people have done over the years.
“It constantly amazes me that these few people in Pinner make such a difference. They do so much to make Pinner a great place to live.”