Whitehall Museum in Cheam reopened on 16 June.
An original Tudor building of historic importance has been fully restored after Sutton Council secured a grant of £1.9m from the National Lottery.
Built around 1500 in the heart of Cheam Village, Whitehall is a rare example of 16th-century domestic architecture. The Grade II* listed building, with its distinctive white-painted exterior, provides an unrivalled glimpse of local life in the Tudor period.
Sutton Council put together a 200,000-word bid, along with securing planning permission for the renovations, which led to the successful National Lottery funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The grant meant vital repairs to the building could be carried out and a programme of activities will now be launched to encourage more people to use the museum and learn about their heritage.
Repair work to the building has involved tackling a damp problem and removing some intrusive 20th-century fixtures, while other original features have been restored.
Internal adaptations and two new extensions, including a new lift and stairs, have significantly increased access for all into and around the building.
Visitors of all ages can expect a sensory experience when moving between the various Whitehall rooms. A short animation film aimed at children narrated by comedian Jon Holmes of Horrible Histories fame provides a fun and educational timeline of the stone age to the period when Whitehall was built. Elsewhere the mood and sound theme continues with musical recordings recorded on instruments that would have been consistent with the particular era. An audio tour is currently being developed that will ensure programme content is regularly refreshed in forthcoming years.
A new schools programme will tie in with a local curriculum exploring local history, environmental awareness and sustainability, comparing the carbon footprint of a Tudor home to a modern house. The restoration work has also created an additional meeting space for local groups and school visits.
Councillor Manual Abellan, Chair of Sutton Council’s Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, said: “Whitehall Historic House is a heritage site of national importance and provides a valuable insight into the past. It is fascinating to see how the building has changed over the years with many different owners. I am delighted that thanks to the National Lottery we are now able to ensure the building’s future and make it more accessible than ever before to visitors from around the world, with improved facilities and new exhibitions.”
Stuart Hobley, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players this historic building has been revitalised as a vibrant hub for the local community and visitors of all ages and at the same time saving and sharing its fascinating heritage. Whitehall Museum is a treasure trove of Sutton’s local history, one which I hope many more people will now discover.”