LITTLE HOLLAND HOUSE IS AWARDED TWO GRANTS BY THE LONDON RENAISSANCE HUB
The unique Arts and Crafts house in Carshalton Beeches has been the recipient of two grants from the London Renaissance Hub - one for conservation of textiles and the other to assist the house to conserve energy under the London Green Museum Scheme - see below for the Whitehall Green Museum project.
The four curtains in the oriel window of the Living Room were looking very poorly due to the effect of a hundred years' worth of sunlight damaging the fabric and the result of many years hanging in the same position. Thanks to a grant from the London Renaissance Hub under their Collections Care Scheme we were able to get specialist textile conservators to come and take them down very carefully and give them a thorough make over in their workshop. This included cleaning, insect proofing and re-lining them and giving them a new border all the way around so they could be opened and closed without touching the fabric itself. During the cleaning process it was discovered that they had been slightly altered in the early 1970s when the house was being readied for opening to the public and the hems had been altered to make them fit a different way of hanging them. All this alteration had made the hems very heavy, which had helped to damage the fabric. Now the curtains are back to the way they were intended and are hanging in all their glory in the oriel window of the ground floor of Little Holland House in the way that Frank Dickinson had intended them to be seen.
The other grant from the London Renaissance Hub, following a sustainability action plan, drawn up by a Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) advisor went towards making the house more energy efficient and included the types of things that people are doing in their own homes, such as putting thick insulation in the loft, replacing the old inefficient gas boiler with a new condensing boiler and updating the hot water tank and its lagging. We also replaced many of the older light bulbs with new LED lights which not only use much less energy but are also much better for museum conservation as they emit no UV light - a spectrum of light which damages furniture, objects and paintings. We have also put a commitment towards using products better for the environment in the house and have also produced a folder full of information for visitors on local suppliers of Fairtrade and environmentally-friendly products. Frank Dickinson, who designed and built the house and lived there from 1904 until his death in 1961, was a very vocal campaigner against pollution and a committed supporter of the natural world, and we feel that this initiative would have met with his entire approval.