A CAFÉ will begin serving visitors to Pinner Memorial Park from mid-May as a prelude to the unveiling of restored West House the following month.
The historic property in West End Lane, Pinner, has been renovated at a cost of more than £1m to create a permanent home for the works of former village resident and illustrator William Heath Robinson.
The ground-floor café, known as Daisy's In The Park, will open in the middle of next month before the gallery, shop and first-floor function room follow suit on June 20.
Visitors will be able to see a selection of Heath Robinson's drawings held by his namesake trust as part of a collection of 500 pieces including his book illustrations and advertising work.
The former resident of Pinner is, however, best known for his cartoons of ridiculous over-elaborate gadgets and contraptions.
While Mr Heath Robinson never occupied West House, although he lived nearby, it WAS called home by Admiral Lord Nelson's mistress Lady Hamilton and his grandson Nelson Ward, and is the only estate in the village which still exists in its medieval size and shape.
It was bought by the people of Pinner after the Second World Wars to house the Pinner Books of Remembrance, eventually passing into the ownership of Harrow Council and falling into disrepair in the 1990s.
Money from donations has been collected over the decade to fund the renovation of West House and the heritage-minded trust members have seen the project transform from just an idea in 2001, when The West House and Heath Robinson Museum Trust was established as a charity, to June's proposed official opening.
Patrons of the trust include comedy writer Barry Cryer, television presenter and Pinner resident Bob Holness and actor David Suchet.
Along the way they shared trust members' obvious disappointment when an application for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected – twice – but have persevered by reducing costs here and there.
Construction began in August last year on the first phase of the restoration, namely the refurbishment of the interior rooms, at a cost of more than £1million.
Martin Verden, chairman of the trust, said: "We are starting to fundraise for a replacement of what is known as the harness room and that will be a special dedicated space for the Heath Robinson collection which will release the area where we current have his pictures, in the old West House, as a gallery space for local artists and those from further afield.
"The only other part that is not finished is part of the first floor of West House that is going to be rented out as offices to provide a source of income, but we won't do anything until we have got a tenant."
* Volunteers are required to man the shop and gallery at West House, and interested parties should call Judith Elliott on 020 8868 3768 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.