News

9th April 2020

Message from the Chairman

I hope this message finds you and your families well at this strange and anxious time.  Life at the Charterhouse has changed out of all recognition as the Master and Governors have instigated a series of measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Brothers.  They are now effectively ‘locked down’ in their apartments, only leaving to collect meals and to exercise within the grounds.

The Brothers have adapted to these constraints with stoicism and good humour.  Their determination to beat this dreadful virus is second to none and their attitude has been admirable, individually and collectively.  Our staff have risen to the challenge wonderfully well, whether personally caring for the Brothers or working from home.  I also recognise here those members of staff who have been temporarily ‘furloughed’, accepting as they do that this is in the best interests of the charity.

Above all I pay tribute to the inspirational leadership being displayed by our Master Ann Kenrick.  She carries an enormous burden on her shoulders and is an immensely reassuring and capable presence to the Brothers and staff alike.  We are fortunate indeed to have her.

The seriousness of the battle we face is hard to exaggerate.  We have been greatly sustained by the many messages of encouragement and support for the Brothers and for our dedicated staff.  They are much appreciated so please keep them coming.  The Charterhouse has faced many vicissitudes in its 400-year history (though few as insidious as this invisible enemy); we have overcome them all and I am confident that we will defeat this one too.

I end with the words of Her Majesty The Queen, our principal Royal Governor, in her remarkable broadcast to the nation:

“..We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

Major General Andrew Ritchie CBE

 

2nd April 2020

Dr William Frankland 1912 – 2020

We are deeply saddened by the death this week of Dr Bill Frankland – a private resident here in the care home at the Charterhouse for the last two years.

Dr Bill, as we knew him, was an extraordinary man, highly revered and admired by the medical world and beyond for his pioneering working in allergies and immunology.  Extraordinary also that he had just celebrated his 108th birthday! Right up until recently he was still writing academic papers, and was still frequently being interviewed by national and international media wanting to tap into his exceptional knowledge and expertise.  He was also often asked for the secret of his longevity to which he always responded that it was his work, and an active and enquiring mind that kept him alert and alive.

Despite being a little frail, Dr Bill was an active participant in activities here at the Charterhouse, regularly eating in the Great Hall with the Brothers, and joining in Dancercise every week. He always had a story to tell – whether about his time at Oxford, in the war, or at St Mary’s Hospital College, now part of Imperial – many of which were gripping and fascinating.

Ann Kenrick, the Master of the Charterhouse, adds: “We are very proud to have been able to care for this eminent man and to make a comfortable home for him in the QEII Infirmary here at the Charterhouse.  We send his family and friends our sincerest condolences.  The staff, Brothers and volunteers will all miss him very much.”

(The photo shows Dr Bill admiring a bottle of the beer brewed especially for him by his old Oxford college)

credit Mark Mercer

28th January 2019

The Charterhouse wins National Lottery Funding for major Great Chamber project

The Charterhouse, the seven-acre historic site on the border of the City of London, is delighted to announce its success in being awarded National Lottery funding of £391,100 to renovate its unique Great Chamber, the last surviving Tudor Great Chamber in London. Additional funding from The Wolfson Foundation, the Linbury Trust, and the Schroder Foundation will also support this major project.

Made possible with money raised by National Lottery Players and supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the new refurbishment project aims to do better justice to the Chamber’s extraordinary history and splendour. The project will also ensure the Chamber’s suitability for an expanded range of ways it can be shared with the public.

Richard Griffiths Architects were selected, after a competitive tender process, to conceive and implement the redesign.  A significant new development will be the moving of the Charterhouse’s most notable portraits onto the walls of the Chamber, having been by conservator Jim Dimond.

Once renovated the intention is to attract new audiences to concerts, exhibitions, and other events to raise income for the Charterhouse charity – the almshouse originally established in 1611 and still flourishing today.

Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London Stuart Hobley says: “Many incredible historic events have taken place within the four walls of the Great Chamber of the Charterhouse, with both Elizabeth I and James I holding court there. Thanks to National Lottery players, the renovation of this grand room will not only allow visitors to follow in those royal footsteps, but also opens it up to new and exciting experiences that will further build on its already rich heritage.”

Development Director Dominic Tickell says: “We are delighted and very proud to have our project here at the Charterhouse selected for an award by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The scope of the planned refurbishment of the Great Chamber embraces three ambitions – to conserve and maintain a unique and splendid example of London’s history, to ensure that it meets environmental and accessibility standards now and for the future, and to create a more inspiring and exciting space to welcome new audiences to the Charterhouse.”

The award will also go toward staffing and implementing an outreach programme aimed at introducing diverse audiences from the local community to the history of the Charterhouse and its purpose today.

The Great Chamber was originally built by Edward North in the 1540s, and referred to as the ‘Throne Room’ after Elizabeth I held her first Privy Council there before being crowned Queen of England. The Chamber was the backdrop to decades of Tudor intrigue and plotting and remained the jewel in this grand Tudor Mansion until it suffered serious bomb damage during WW2.  After the war a major project was initiated to renovate the room to match the one remaining undamaged section, and has been well used and much admired since.

The New Great Chamber

The new design references several different architectural schemes from different centuries.  The colours from the fireplace and overmantel (dating from the 16th and 17th centuries) will be carried throughout the space and a green silk moire will provide the backdrop for our important collection of Restoration portraits.  The floor will be replaced with boards of varying sizes and widths, referencing its post-Reformation origins.

The portraits of the Charterhouse

The works to be hung in the Great Chamber comprise large seventeenth century oil paintings of our Restoration era governors and include portraits of some of the periods most influential and controversial Royals, politicians and religious leaders.  The pre-eminence of the sitters attests to the prominence of the Charterhouse during the period.  They include portraits of the Duke of Monmouth, the Earl of Craven, the Duke of Buckingham, Gilbert Sheldon (Archbishop of Canterbury), Anthony Ashely Cooper – first Earl of Shaftesbury and Charles II.

The collection is mentioned in Vertue’s notebooks in 1736.  The collection continued to be highly regarded and discussed in numerous documentary sources of the 18th and 19th centuries.  In May 1941 the Charterhouse was bombed and the paintings were evacuated and did not return to London until 1957, by which time it seems that they had slipped from public and academic consciousness. Recent funding from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art has enabled on-going research which has established the collection’s broader cultural and historic significance, both to the institution and wider fields of academic study.

Ends

For further information please contact Charlotte Borger on charlotte.borger@thecharterhouse.org

 

Editor’s notes

  • The Charterhouse, set deep within stone walls in the heart of Clerkenwell, is a remarkable assembly of historic buildings dating from the 14thcentury.  Over the years it has been a monastery, a grand Tudor mansion, a school and, as it has remained for over 400 years, an almshouse. In January 2017 parts of the Charterhouse opened to the public for the first time in its 660 year history, revealing to the public the great story of this sprawling urban oasis at the heart of London, and thereby raising income for the charity and maintenance of the buildings. To find out more about the Charterhouse, its almshouse, museum, tours, venue hire and learning centre please visit www.thecharterhouse.org

·         About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.

 

New canopy at Charterhouse entrance

17th December 2018

Large glass globe gas-light completes new entrance to the Charterhouse

The Charterhouse, the seven-acre heritage site and almshouse in Clerkenwell EC1, is delighted to announce that the final element of the new entrance to the Charterhouse, designed by Eric Parry Architects, is now in place.  The entrance, which was unveiled in January 2017, was a key element of the “Revealing the Charterhouse” project which saw the site opening its doors formally to the public. The large bespoke gas-light, which will run on the same timer as the gas lights in Charterhouse Square, adds the final element to the welcome at the gates.

The light – which has a multiple-mantle housing 16 gas flames – is set in the centre of the cold forged steel canopy, and its contemporary design complements the extraordinary architecture of the estate.  The canopy features interwoven metal strands symbolising continuity, community and the overlap of the centuries – all key to the history and life of the Charterhouse.  When illuminated, the light, which is 600mm in diameter with a vitreous enamel crown and clear glass globe, lights up the brass plan of the original monastery set into the Scoutmoor York stone paving below, and catches the gilded coats of arms and lettering on the main gates.

Dominic Tickell, Development Director at the Charterhouse and driver behind the Revealing the Charterhouse project, says, “The new light is the focal point of the entrance way and with it now in place the public entrance to the Charterhouse is announced from across the square. The design was a feat of engineering to ensure the right materials and the right effect of the light in the space.  It is exciting to see it both in daylight, and when it is illuminated at night.”

The light was designed by Eric Parry RA, and made by Sugg Lighting, and the metalwork of the canopy was created by Chris Brammall Metalwork Ltd. It is believed that the last time a 16 mantel gas light was created was by Sir Aston Webb for Horse Guards Parade in the early 1900s.

The ‘Revealing the Charterhouse’ project included a new museum and learning centre which have now been open for 17 months and have welcomed thousands of visitors, who had never known about the Charterhouse, or what lay behind the mysterious walls between Barbican and Farringdon.

Ends

For high res images and further information please contact Charlotte Borger on charlotte.borger@thecharterhouse.org

Eric Parry Architects is responsible for several highly prestigious commercial projects in the City and West End including 5 Aldermanbury Square, 60 Threadneedle Street, 23 Savile Row and 50 New Bond Street. We are also responsible for cultural projects involving sensitive historic buildings including a significant new wing for the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath, and have completed the restoration and renewal project for the historic St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square. www.ericparryarchitects.co.uk

Artist Blacksmith Chris Brammall is one of the leading architectural and sculptural metalworkers in Great Britain. http://www.chrisbrammall.com/

Sugg Lighting has been supplying interior and exterior decorative and heritage lighting for over 175 years. A world-class leader in its field, Sugg was granted the Royal Warrant in 2008. Examples of its prestigious work can be seen lighting thoroughfares, parks and important buildings throughout London and the world.  www.sugglighting.co.uk

 

 

Andrew Ritchie

6th December 2018

The Charterhouse appoints new Chair and first Director of Operations

The Charterhouse is delighted to announce the appointment of Major General Andrew Ritchie CBE as the new Chair of the Governors, and Julian Marczak as the charity’s first Director of Operations. Andrew Ritchie was a career soldier and former Commandant of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst who was until recently CEO of Goodenough College. He comes with many years’ experience of Board leadership and involvement in charitable institutions. Andrew takes over from Sir Michael Graydon on 20th November, and Julian will be leaving his role as Deputy Director of the Almshouse Association to take on this new role at the Charterhouse on 18th January 2019.

This month the Charterhouse will also be bidding a very grateful and fond farewell to Donna Birkwood who has served here for over 18 years, originally as Registrar and from 2002 as Clerk to the Brothers.

The Master, Ann Kenrick, who has overseen the opening of the Charterhouse to the public over the last 19 months, very much looks forward to working with both Andrew and Julian.

“I am delighted Andrew is joining us and bringing his own extensive experience to build on the wise, proactive and innovative role that Sir Michael Graydon has contributed so well for 20 years, the last 12 as Chair. Sir Michael has partnered four Masters here at the Charterhouse and has not only been a consistently steady hand on the financial tiller, but has also manifestly cared very deeply for our mission and for the wellbeing of the Brothers. I wish Sir Michael all good wishes for the future, and want to personally thank him for his invaluable leadership during these changing times at the Charterhouse.

I am also very pleased to welcome Julian Marczak and look forward to working with him to ensure we are running our almshouse and maintaining and conserving our exceptional buildings in harmony as well as efficiently, and with an eye on the future. Julian’s distinguished career in the third sector, and specifically working with almshouses and property portfolios, means he will be bringing excellent expertise and credentials to the team here at the Charterhouse”.

Sir Michael Graydon, outgoing Chairman of the Governors of the Charterhouse said, “I am delighted we have made two such excellent appointments to enable us to carry on maintaining and developing the Charterhouse. I have a strong and deep commitment to this very special organisation and feel assured that after my 18 years as Chair I am passing its future into good hands.”

Andrew Ritchie commented:
“I am delighted to play a role in the Charterhouse at such an exciting time in its history.”

Julian Marczak added:
“It is a tremendous privilege to be involved in this next very significant chapter of the long and illustrious history of the Charterhouse. I have viewed developments having been a great admirer of it for some time and look forward immensely to contributing to the next stage of its development. Overseeing progress of the museum and learning centre, enabling a wider audience to appreciate the glorious gardens and encouraging the wonderful catering team to support the private functions are all stimulating challenges.”

The Charterhouse, set deep within stone walls in the heart of Clerkenwell, is a remarkable assembly of historic buildings dating from the 14thcentury.  Over the years it has been a monastery, a grand Tudor mansion, a school and, as it has remained for over 400 years, an almshouse. In January 2017 parts of the Charterhouse opened to the public for the first time in its 660 year history, revealing to the public the great story of this sprawling urban oasis at the heart of London.

With partner the Museum of London, the Charterhouse created a new museum within the Tudor mansion, as well as a Learning Centre and an exhibition space, which tells the story of the Charterhouse and its role in key moments in English history, using artefacts from its own collection, together with others from the Museum of London and other collections. This exciting new facility brings to life the history of the building, highlighting its place in national affairs and securing its future.

For further information, interviews and photographs please contact Charlotte Borger on charlotte.borger@thecharterhouse.org

Editors’ notes
* Andrew Ritchie was Director of Goodenough College from 2006 to 2018 and was previously Director of Regular Forces Employment Association (a military charity) and has senior roles at other colleges and charities. His career has been with the army, and he has held a range of senior army appointments including Director of Army Communications & Public Relations.
* Julian Marczak was appointed as Deputy Director of the Almshouse Association in 2012 having previously worked as Assistant Director, Fundraising.

27th March 2018

Award winning month at the Charterhouse

March got underway to a successful start at the Association for Cultural Enterprises Annual Conference. Two of the Charterhouse publications were shortlisted in the ‘Best General Publication’ and ‘Best Guidebook’ categories in the Best Product Awards 2018.

Our Museum and Collections Manager Ellie was in Brighton for the conference and had an opportunity to view the competing entries. Our books were up against publications from the Sir John Soane Museum and the Wellcome Collection. Following some friendly rivalry with our competitors the winners were announced. The Charterhouse was awarded ‘Best Guidebook’ for The Charterhouse: The Guidebook.

Congratulations to the Sir John Soane Museum who were awarded the ‘Best General Publication’ award.

The success continued at the UK Heritage Awards which were hosted at Goldsmith’s Hall on 6 March. At this ceremony attended by Development Director Dominic Tickell and Governor Wilf Weeks the Charterhouse was the winner in the ‘Best Hidden Gem’ category.

Congratulations to Bridge End Gardens in Suffolk which received a commendation in the same category.

Do come in and visit us to view the awards which will be on display shortly and purchase your copy of our award-winning guidebook here

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