The restoration project
The plan is for Fulham Palace to be fully restored over three phases.
After thirty years of debate, work began to restore the Palace in August 2005 and was completed in October 2006. The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £3.027 million to the partnership of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and the Fulham Palace Trust.
The work focused on getting the building fit for the 21st century; the roofs were overhauled, a new drainage system devised and gas and electricity services replaced.
The four key areas were:
- The restoration of Bishop Sherlock’s Room within the Palace
- The refurbishment of the Bishop’s former bedrooms within the Palace’s East Quadrangle for use as offices
- The refurbishment of the East Quadrangle’s public rooms for use as a museum, café and gallery
- The renewal of services throughout the Palace’s East Quadrangle and across the grounds
As the building is Grade I listed and the site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, all work was undertaken with great care. Paint analysis was carried out, interesting finds preserved for display in the Museum and, wherever possible, traditional materials and techniques were used. All of the rooms around the East Courtyard have been restored, and the decorative scheme of 1814-18 reinstated where appropriate.
The Palace reopened to the public in November 2006.
In March 2010 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £3.65m to the partnership between LBHF and Fulham Palace Trust towards the £7m Bishops Park and Fulham Palace grounds restoration project.
The second phase of the restoration drew to a close in March 2012. This phase concentrated on the outbuildings, walled garden and moat.
Key areas were:
- The restoration of a section of the ancient moat beneath the Moat Bridge which is crossed by all pedestrians as they enter the Palace grounds
- Restoration and productive reuse of the Walled Garden, vinery and bothies
- The restoration and reuse of the Gothic Lodge and Coachman’s Lodge
- The restoration and reuse of the Stables as an education facility, the improvement of physical and social links to the surrounding area, London and the Thames
The Walled Garden bothies are now functional spaces for the gardening team. The new vinery within the garden sits on the footprint of the original vinery in the northwest corner of the garden. A new gate and paths have been constructed around the garden allowing for easy access for all visitors.
The stable block which was previously used solely as storage is now an education centre. One of the gate lodges, Gothic Lodge, has been restored and the external decoration returned to the historical colour.
Parts of the moat have been excavated and visitors can now clearly see the Medieval bridge which carries them into the Palace grounds.
The final phase of works is subject to further fund-raising. This will focus on:
- The restoration of the Palace’s Tudor West Quadrangle
- The expansion of the existing Museum
- The creation of exhibition space to take temporary exhibitions such as the Cecil French Bequest of world-renowned pre-Raphaelite paintings
- The provision of more high-quality interpretation material across the Palace in general and in the Museum in particular