William Morris Society and Emery Walker Trust: Arts and Crafts Hammersmith project

An exciting partnership between two organisations dedicated to celebrating and sharing the stories of two Arts and Crafts pioneers and their Hammersmith homes has been awarded £631,100 by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The William Morris Society and the Emery Walker Trust, who work to promote the lives, influences and collections of Morris and Walker from their former West London homes, can now launch their Arts and Crafts Hammersmith initiative in the new year.

This imaginative venture will open up access to the rich collections of both partners and the wider histories – personal, social, political – of the Arts and Crafts movement, rooted in Hammersmith. The project comprises vital programmes of repairs, refurbishments and improvements to Walker’s Thames-side house at 7 Hammersmith Terrace (the last surviving example in Britain of an authentic Arts and Crafts interior) and Morris’s home at Kelmscott House, ¼ mile away. It gives both organisations the means fully to preserve and conserve the rich heritage in their care, and make it available for public enjoyment, study and learning, through traditional and digital forms.

The project also creates new opportunities for people to get involved through volunteering and skills development, and will establish a more sustainable and resilient future for both organisations. Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, says: “Given the proximity of these two riverside homes – shrines to the Arts and Crafts movement – we are delighted to support this joint project that will underline the close working relationship between its two leading exponents and provide valuable new insights into their artistic collaboration.” Martin Stott, chair of the William Morris Society, says, “’This is wonderful news and a great way to launch the Society’s 2015 Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It will help bring the work and ideas of William Morris to a much wider audience and will complement the Society’s own work. We are very grateful to the HLF for their vote of confidence at this important time.” Michael Hall, chair of the Emery Walker Trust (EWT), says, “This project is a major advance for both organisations and will do so much for 7 Hammersmith Terrace. It also cements an extraordinarily fruitful partnership with WMS, and will allow us to achieve much more than we could alone – giving us both resilience to face the future, and providing a secure foundation for sustainable activity and growth for years to come”.

The project begins with capital and conservation works at both houses from the end of 2015. The public will be able to enjoy new and improved facilities and activities from 2017. Helen Elletson, curator for WMS and EWT, will lead an enlarged staff team to deliver all aspects of the project over its three years. Attentions are now on securing the final funds to complete the project in 2018.

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