NEWS ARCHIVE

Estorick Collection Visit (November 2019)

 

On Thursday 21st November we visited the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in Islington (www.estorickcollection.com). Opened in London in 1998 it is housed in a Grade II listed Georgian town house and was originally restored with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund; so there were clear similarities to explore.

A dramatic addition to the House has been the attachment of a glass box, which acts as an extension to the café. But the more lasting impression was the very successful use of the building to display the current exhibition. Many thanks must go to Luke Alder, Museum Administrator, who not only showed us around and talked to us about the practical aspects of keeping the organisation running but was particularly informative on lighting and its use.

 

 

Geoff Dodd (October 2019)

It is with great sadness that we have to advise of the passing of Geoff Dodd, one of the founders of our organisation. He was a lively member of our directors, doing much to get us on the way with the Little Cassiobury project, which was dear to his heart. He resigned from his role as a director due to ill health a few years ago.

Geoff passed away in hospital on 16th October following a long illness. He remained in good spirits, never complaining , and was sketching right up to the end of his life.

With his departure a light has gone out in the world. Knowing him has enriched the lives of many of us, a true gentleman and wit. I’m sure that you will join us in sending heartfelt sympathy to Christine, his wife, and their family at this sad and difficult time.

Visit to Salisbury House (September 2019)

We visited Salisbury House in Enfield on 27th Septemer.  The house is a fine example of late Elizabethan architecture, it's a Grade II* gabled and brick Tudor Manor House restored and run by Enfield Council.

There is a pattern emerging from these visits. The Houses have often fallen into disrepair and also out of memory of the local population. But once refurbished and rediscovered can develop a new life.

With many thanks to Keegan Kessewnath and, in particular, Rajay Williams, Business Development & Programme Supervisor who showed us round and provided us with a lot of useful information.

 

Focus Group

We are now in a position to invite people to come forward to take part in discussions with our business plan and marketing consultants.

 

A public consultation meeting will take place on Tuesday 15th October at the Palace Theatre, Watford in the Cafe/Bar from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm. If you are unable to be there please let us know what you would like the House to be used for, and why, by contacting us via our Website (Contact Page), email mac5236@aol.com or post 90 Tibbs Hill Road, Abbotts Langley, Herts WD5 0LL. Please use the title "Focus Group".

Little Cassiobury Visit (July 2019)

Our Conservation Architect Francesca Weal and Jasmijn Muller of Axiom recently inspected the House specifically to establish how its physical limitations might affect the activities we might want to run. 
This is one of the stages we need to undertake in order to bring an informed list of ideas to those who would like to be involved in shaping Little Cassiobury’s future. On current progress, we believe late September or October will be the time when we’ll be asking those interested to take part in discussions with us.

Visit to Elizabeth Gaskell's House (July 2019)

 

We recently visited Elizabeth Gaskell’s house in Plymouth Grove Manchester . Manchester Historic Buildings Trust (MHBT) has taken over the running of the House, which had previously been owned by the University and used as student accommodation. 

 

Our meeting was with Francis Galvin, Chair, and Anne Higgins, one of the trustees of Mrs Gaskell’s House. The House Manager, Sally Jastrzebski-Lloyd, also joined us and we can’t thank all of them enough for being so generous with their time and their openness in discussions. Though there are clear differences between the two houses, there are also a number of shared problems and we had a very useful exploration of these in the time we spent there. However, we also had taken the opportunity to look around the House beforehand.  With a major literary figure as the occupant the role of volunteers is likely to be very different to that of Little Cassiobury, yet the enthusiasm and knowledge of the volunteer we met could only be admired and make one question whether or not we could find roles that would prove equally as enthusing for any of our volunteers.

Though we didn’t spend as much time as we might have wished looking at the gardens of Mrs Gaskell’s House they are (inevitably) much smaller than they were when the Gaskell’s were at home, but they have been planted and managed very effectively – some obvious and valuable ideas for the similar circumstances faced by Little Cassiobury.  (Photos of our visit are available on our Facebook Page ).

Focus Group (July 2019)

The process of gathering views about the use to which Little Cassiobury might be put is now picking up pace. As a board we have had the opportunity to give our opinions, but this isn’t the sort of task we can take on in isolation. Indeed, we shall shortly be asking for people to come forward to take part in discussions with our business plan and marketing consultants. This is part of the wider task where we will take into account the interests and aims of our neighbours, the councils and other stakeholder bodies and institutions, who will also be asked to give us their perspectives on what might be achieved.

A public consultation meeting will take place on Tuesday 15th October at the Palace Theatre, Watford in the Cafe/Bar from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm. If you are unable to be there please let us know what you would like the House to be used for, and why, by contacting us via our Website (Contact Page), email mac5236@aol.com or post 90 Tibbs Hill Road, Abbotts Langley, Herts WD5 0LL. Please use the title "Focus Group".

84 Plymouth Grove (July 2019)


For over 150 years, this house has been associated with its most famous resident: the novelist, Elizabeth Gaskell, who lived here from 1850 to 1865.  The House, now a Grade II* listed property, was built between 1835-1841 on the outer edge of the growing city. It was built as part of a new suburban development planned by Richard Lane and is a rare example of the elegant Regency-style villas once popular in Manchester.


During the time Elizabeth lived here she wrote nearly all of her famous novels, including Cranford, Ruth, North and South and Wives and Daughters and it’s where she also wrote the biography of her friend Charlotte Brontë.
Notable visitors to the House included fellow writers Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, John Ruskin, the American abolitionist and novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe and musician Charles Hallé.  William and his two unmarried daughters, Meta and Julia, continued to live in the house after Elizabeth’s death in 1865. When Meta died in 1913 the house and its contents were sold.


It is now run by Manchester Historic Buildings Trust who have kindly agreed to host a visit from Little Cassiobury CIC later this month.  http://elizabethgaskellhouse.co.uk/

Appointment of Business Planner (April 2019)

As you will be aware, Little Cassiobury CIC received a National Lottery grant at the end of last year.  The project focuses on the development of a business plan that aims to show how Little Cassiobury could be run as a financially independent community organisation. 

 

Following a number of interviews conducted on the 19th March, we are delighted to confirm that we have appointed Amion Consulting as our Business Planner.

 

The Business Planner task will not only require them to work closely with the Board and our Project Co-ordinator but with the Market Research company we shall be using to garner more detailed information about the local area.

 

For those wishing any further information about the above please contact:

Alex Macgregor Mason:  Alex@Littlecassiobury.com

 

 

Little Cassiobury CIC wins National Lottery support (January 2019)

Little Cassiobury CIC has received a National Lottery grant of £62,100 for an exciting heritage project.  Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on the development of a business plan that aims to show how Little Cassiobury could be run as a financially independent community organisation.  The grant also provides funding for training for new members of the CIC and volunteers.

The process will take up to 12 months and will include work with West Herts College, the Free School, the Registry Office and Watford Borough Council.  

   

Little Cassiobury CIC is the successor organisation to Friends of Little Cassiobury, a separate company set up to enter into contracts to further the aim of bringing Little Cassiobury House into community use.   

Commenting on the award, Alex Macgregor Mason said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players.  The CIC will be carrying out, amongst other things, audience surveys throughout the area as well as being in touch with other local organisations and groups with a potential interest in making use of the House.”

Grelle White (December 2018)

It is with great sadness that we have to advise that Grelle White, our dear friend and colleague, passed away peacefully on December 4th. Grelle was a founder member of Friends of Little Cassiobury and subsequently director of Little Casiobury CIC, a cause that was dear to her heart. 

 

Click here to view a short film made by Grelle in Little Cassiobury when she won the Watford Audentior Award in 2015.

 

 

We have very good news!! (November 2018)

 

Our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was successful.

 

This is of potentially major significance for the future of the House.  Obviously, it now provides funds to draw up a business plan, but the size of the funding emphasises the growing awareness of the importance of this building.  It can therefore provide the springboard to attract wider interest in the future of the House than has been the case to date.

 

We shall also be looking to attract more people interested in taking part in shaping the future of the House by conducting audience surveys and also spreading the net wider than the organisations that are currently involved with us. 

 

Of potentially even greater importance is for us to take this opportunity to encourage more people to participate both as active members as well as future volunteers and within the grant there are sums set side to help train both categories.   So if anyone reading this is interested in getting involved in any way please contact Cheryl Gardner (cheryl@littlecassiobury.com) and if you have an idea of what you might like to do or how much time you have to spend then please let us know at the same time.

 

Once the checks and authorities have been completed the whole task is likely to take some 12 months.

 

We are very excited by the opportunities this result now opens up for us and are really looking forward to the next year.

 

 

Resilience Grant (October 2018)

 

We’ve been able to have very helpful discussions with the Heritage Lottery Fund concerning our application.  The Fund is familiar with activities put on by groups or to providing help to bolster existing projects.  What has been clear is that something that we are attempting – to produce a business plan that will show that Little Cassiobury can survive under its own power, is something else.   So, the experience has been part of a learning curve for both the Fund and ourselves.  

 

As part of the preparatory work for the application to the HLF, we have been in contact with a number of related organisations – some of which (such as West House, Pinner- the home of the Heath Robinson Museum) have already been good enough to have us as visitors.  This is part of our aim to understand something of the pitfalls and successes of similar organisations in making a historic venue a successful financial venture.  We are seeking funding from the HLF to visit others who might help but who are situated further away from Little Cassiobury.  As a result we have been in contact with the group running Elizabeth Gaskell’s House at 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester as well as the Battersea Arts Centre.  Both of which in their very different ways may have considerable experience that we may benefit from.  What is notable is that so far, each organisation we have approached, whether in the past or in anticipation of a future visit, has been extraordinarily welcoming and keen to share their experience.

Capel Family Book (March 2018)

 

We have submitted a proposal to the Historic England Publishing Board for a book about the Capel family, the synopsis of which is:

 

“The public is familiar today with how Royal possessions were sold to finance the Republican state, especially after the recent exhibition of Charles I’s art treasures at the Royal Academy. This book will explore the impact of the war upon less regal families. Sequestration allowed Parliament to ‘legally’ confiscate the real and personal estates of anyone believed to be supporting Charles I in the conflict: houses, horses, personal possessions might all be inventoried and sold. The catalyst for the policy’s introduction was Lord Capel’s fateful instructions to his servants to send the rents and profits of his estates to support King Charles I and the Royalist campaign, which were intercepted by Parliamentarian soldiers and sent to the House of Commons. Parliament took immediate steps to secure his property to prevent the money being removed, and quickly made the decision to secure all Royalist estates.

 

Due to the Capel's pivotal role in sequestration a great deal of time has been spent in undertaking original and significant research into what happened to him and his family as the Civil War progressed. This continuing research has already highlighted that Lady Capel played as large a role as her husband did and was a key figure in her own right.“

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