A MULTI-million pound appeal has been launched to restore a major section of the grounds at historic Fulham Palace.
Medieval in origin, the palace was the country home of the Bishops of London from the 11th century until 1975, so it is fitting that the appeal was set in motion by the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Richard Chartres.
A total of £5.5million is needed to restore the gardens, the Tudor courtyard, chapel, and great hall.
Dr Chartres said: “This historic house is at the very heart of the community in Fulham sited alongside the Thames as it flows down towards the City and its many treasures. Yet it has remained for too long, on the periphery of London’s rich collection of historic houses and gardens.
"I am glad and grateful to the chair and trustees for their vision and energy as they seek to renew and revitalise the ancient home of the Bishops of London."
Restoration work started at the palace – owned by the Church of England – in 2005, with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund which paid for structural and room restoration.
A second phase, which began in 2010, concentrated on the exterior and outbuildings, including a vinery, the gardens and part of the moat.
In this final phase of the work a new museum will be built at a cost of £1m, important spaces including the courtyard, chapel and great hall will be restored at a cost of £2.1m, and the garden will be transformed to show how horticultural styles have changed over the centuries, at a cost of £1.1m.
The Fulham Palace Trust, which manages the site, is also looking for £300,000 to run workshops, community digs, talks and tours alongside the restoration, plus a further £1m for an endowment fund to run the trust’s learning and education programme.
Chairman Tim Ingram said: "For too long Fulham Palace has been hidden from its own community, an almost secret place that only a few enjoyed. We want to change all that and make it central to the very essence of what Fulham is, to make Fulham Palace an outstanding piece of history, beauty and learning.
“However, it is not something we can achieve in isolation. I call upon the full support of the local community and friends to help us ensure Fulham Palace becomes the place it deserves to be.”
Anyone who wishes to donate to the appeal, or become a patron, can contact Kate Ainley-Marr on 020 7751 2437 or firstname.lastname@example.org