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Faces of Fulham Palace: Gaverne Bennett

Celebrating Hammersmith & Fulham: the Heritage Office and YOU. Written by Gaverne Bennett

My name is Gaverne Bennett and I am the Heritage and Education Officer for the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. My job is to bring the rich heritage of the borough – particularly its diverse heritage – to the forefront of everything we do. That means using every opportunity to make sure schools, community organisations, residents and cultural institutions, like Fulham Palace, come together to celebrate our shared heritage.

At the moment I am working with Riverside Studios and schools across the borough to come together to showcase their work to the Youth Mayor, Councillors and other dignitaries across the borough. There was a display of the school’s work on 30 November and 1 December 2022.

I am also working to develop pride in our borough by making available to as many residents as possible this borough’s empowering history, co-producing activities that are generated from residents and making sure every resident sees themselves represented, feels more connected to one another, as they go about their everyday lives: Celebrating H&F: A borough like no other | LBHF and Windrush Day 2022: Local pupils sing Bob Marley classics in St Peter’s Square – YouTube

One of my proudest pieces of work this year was helping to bring Fulham Palace together with Nubian Life, a local community organisation, to celebrate the lives of our elder residents and cherish their contributions to all of us.

I did not know a great deal about Fulham Palace before I began my role. I visited it many years ago but that was a faint memory it wasn’t until I sat down with Sian Harrington, Fulham Palace’s CEO, that she explained to me the wonderful work that is going on there. After visiting the site numerous times myself, I now understand this is a place everyone in Hammersmith & Fulham needs to visit.

The thing that struck me about Fulham Palace is how much effort it puts into reaching out to all residents. More than that, however, I was struck by how the strong effort therein in excavating its powerful history and bringing it to life for living generations.

Fulham Palaces’ commitment to diversity and to inclusion (which matches Hammersmith & Fulham council as a whole) is clear in how it has pursued the quest to make sure ALL the people that have contributed to Hammersmith & Fulham history are given their due recognition.

This is most clearly demonstrated in how Fulham Palace has highlighted Black History culminating in new research projects and it having a meeting, the first of many hopefully, with the distinguished historian Professor David Olusoga.

What I am finding most interesting is being part of cutting-edge of organisations – Fulham Palace and Hammersmith & Fulham Council – that is relentless in finding creative ways to co-produce with, and widen the part the participation of, Hammersmith and Fulham’s residents, especially its younger people.

In the near future, I hope to add a fourth Black History trail that takes in Fulham Palace (similar to the existing ones across the borough. See below). This will allow you to both walk, learn and get fit as you discover the enriching history that this institution and this borough have to offer you or anyone in less than 30 – 40 minutes: Black history trail 1 | LBHF and Black history trail 2 | LBHF and Black history trail 3 | LBHF.

Gaverne Bennett, Heritage and Education Officer.

If you have ideas you wish to contribute or want to get in touch please email Gaverne.Bennett@lbhf.gov.uk


Learn more about Gaverne’s work