Imagining the future at Leith Hill Place
Leith Hill Place first opened to the public as part of a three-year trial in July 2013. The initial trial period went well with visitor numbers growing each year. Since 2017 we have been experimenting with new ways to open the house and to use the empty but inspiring spaces it contains. Looking forwards, we hope to secure the building’s future with a creative, collaborative use, which makes the most of this homely elegant house with stunning views.
Setting the house to rights
One part of the project to identify the secure future for the house is to establish the building work which needs to be undertaken. Over the years the house has had many different uses including a family home, boarding house for students and a Victorian school. Areas of the house have been converted for these uses, such as the attics for the boarders from Hurtwood School. The wear and tear on the house has built up and it’s now in need of some major works including a new roof, repairs to the façade and upgrades to the wiring and plumbing.
In summer 2019 a project manager started work on unpicking the building needs for the house, establishing what work is needed, the costs involved and how it can be funded.
Imagining the future
The second part of the project manager’s role is to imagine a secure, sustainable future for the house. The National Trust has been caring for special places for 125 years and interacting with visitors from all walks of life. Leith Hill Place offers a unique opportunity for the Trust to engage in a new way with visitors of the twenty-first century.
" Since 2017 we’ve been opening up more of the house and welcoming members of the public in different ways. Having a house without a collection can be very liberating and has allowed us to use rooms in the house for folk singing, jewellery making, wood turning, pottery and yoga retreats."
The house has also hosted a ceramics exhibition and wedding receptions. The team are very open to trialling new things and working with groups or individuals to imagine what is possible. All of this trialling is contributing to working up the longer term use for the house.
How you can get involved
The house is always looking for new volunteers to work in the house, welcoming visitors, serving teas and ensuring the visitor experience is the best it can be.