We’re a finalist! Sutton Heritage has announced that Whitehall has been shortlisted for the 2018 AJ Retrofit Award in the Cultural Buildings – Museums and Galleries category!
“The awards ‘recognise and celebrate design, engineering and construction excellence that prolongs and improves the life of the built environment’ which is exactly what we hoped to achieve with our recent renovations. Come along and see for yourself just what we’ve done to improve and prolong the life of this impressive 500 year old timber framed building at the heart of Cheam!” said a spokesperson.
An original Tudor building of historic importance it 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.
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.
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.”