Bishop's appeal to restore Fulham Palace

The Bishop of London has launched an appeal to complete the third and final phase of Fulham Palace's restoration.

Fulham Palace is the ancient home of the Bishops of London and is in need of £5.5 million to complete the final stage.

The project is being undertaken to restore the palace to its original beauty, as well as turn it into a place of outstanding learning that can be enjoyed by the whole community.

Work has been going on at the palace since 2005. The initial phase was funded by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and focused on the structure of the building, renewing the roof, laying the groundwork for later developments, and installing new gas, electricity and drainage systems. Some rooms were also restored and interesting finds preserved for display in the new museum.

The second stage got underway in 2010 and concentrated on the palace exterior, outbuildings and gardens, including a stunning new vinery.

This phase of the restoration process saw the excavation of parts of the moat and visitors can now clearly see the medieval bridge into the palace grounds. The old stable block was also adapted into an education centre.

Now there are plans to increase the opportunities for learning and community involvement, and return the oldest parts of the palace to their original splendour, including the Tudor courtyard and Great Hall.

There will also be work done to create historic room displays allowing visitors to see how previous Bishops of London lived in the house and the important role bishops have played in running the country.

Bishop Richard Chartres launched the appeal for new funding in front of over 150 guests at Fulham Palace's annual garden party.

As patron of the appeal, the Bishop of London said: "This historic house is at the very heart of the community in Fulham sited alongside the Thames as it flows down towards the city and its many treasures.

"Yet it has remained for too long, on the periphery of London's rich collection of historic houses and gardens.

"I am glad and grateful to the Chair and Trustees for their vision and energy as they seek to renew and revitalise the ancient home of the Bishops of London."

Tim Ingram, Chairman, Fulham Palace Trust: "For too long Fulham Palace has been hidden from its own community, an almost secret place that only a few enjoyed.

"We want to change all that and make it central to the very essence of what Fulham is, to make Fulham Palace an outstanding place of history, beauty and learning.

"However, it is not something we can achieve in isolation. I call upon the full support of the local community and friends to help us ensure Fulham Palace becomes the place it deserves to be. Thank you."

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