New era for historic Lauderdale House
Trustees, supporters and volunteers gather at house to celebrate completion of £2.5m revamp
08 February, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
Lauderdale Trustees chairman Nick Peacey, director Katherine Ives and Mayor Nadia Shah
THE walls of Lauderdale House have seen many comings and goings down the centuries, from Charles II’s lover Nell Gwynne stepping out of a bath he had built for her, to park workers storing their lawnmowers in its historic rooms.
And last night (Tuesday) its past was celebrated as a new era began as the Waterlow Park house’s £2.5million restoration came to an end.
Trustees, supporters, friends and volunteers gathered on Tuesday night to celebrate the work and were treated to an exhibition of images curated by photographer Polly Hancock, who has traced the massive restoration and improvement work over the past three years that has transformed the house.
Trustees chairman Nick Peacey, who has been involved with Lauderdale House since the 1960s, recalled how the main ground-floor room was used to store gardening equipment – and its mission today was to provide a centre for everyone, with a huge range of activities that means Lauderdale House matches the spirit of Waterlow Park, named by its one-time owner Sir Sydney Waterlow as “a garden for the gardenless”.
Photographer Polly Hancock with Peter Barber, one of the original trustees of the house who has volunteered there for more than 40 years
“We were also determined this would not just be a posh house at the top of the hill, but be a posh house at the top of the hill that was open for everyone.” said Mr Peacey.
He added that the generous fundraising – which included a donation of more than £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund – had saved the house in more ways than one.
He said: “We dreaded the idea that Lauderdale would have to become an exclusive venue for exclusive parties and events as being the only way it could cover maintenance costs. Because of the support we have had, we have not had to do that.”
Director Katherine Ives outlined how the house would be used for projects that encourage everyone to come in and use the space, including outreach work for Camden schoolchildren, tied with community centres throughout the borough and with a huge range of cultural and educational programmes.
Camden Mayor Nadia Shah added: “It is places like this that really contribute to the emotional wellbeing of children in Camden.”