An update from Siân Harrington, CEO of Fulham Palace
In response to the uncertainty created by COVID-19 and the UK government’s directions on keeping everyone safe, we have sadly taken the decision to close Fulham Palace’s doors until further notice.
It was a difficult decision, and we would have liked to keep the garden open at the very least. However, we didn’t feel social distancing would be possible to maintain across the site. Having seen for myself how busy our gardens were on the weekend of 21/22 March, which was wonderful in one way, it became clear to me that it would be impossible to regulate things for everyone’s safety. As you may know, we are a private site, owned by the Church Commission, and managed by Fulham Palace Trust which is an independent charity, so the Met police and LBHF parks police do not routinely patrol the Palace to enforce social distancing. We could have employed security, but that would have added to our costs at what is already a challenging time for us.
We are hoping to reopen the garden in the near future and the rest of the site on a phased basis. This does feel like some light at the end of the tunnel for all of us, although we are running a rota with only 30% of our usual staff complement, so we are taking care to ensure we can do that safely. This includes looking at how other organisations such as Kew and the National Trust approach re-opening their historic gardens.
On a practical note, all of our upcoming public event bookings are now postponed until further notice, so if you have bought a ticket for an event we will be in touch to arrange a credit or a refund. If, however, you feel able to donate this to Fulham Palace Trust, that would be wonderful.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
How you can help
Fulham Palace is struggling. We know we are not alone in this – these are terrible times for everyone and we understand that the most important thing is to keep everyone safe. It is also a time of financial uncertainty, which is bound to have an impact on the decisions we make.
So if you are able to help us, in whatever way you can, we would be very grateful.
We have opened an online shop, where you can purchase cards, gifts and books for delivery, or vegetable seedlings and flowering plants from the walled garden via click and collect.
Thank you for thinking of Fulham Palace.