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International Women’s Day 2024

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating some of the Palace’s extraordinary women.

When you think of heritage, you might think of high-powered men in dusty suits as CEOs, curators and decision-makers. But here at Fulham Palace, it’s women across a number of roles who diligently work to manage the preservation and development of the Palace, working towards it being a welcoming site for all.

On this International Women’s Day, we’re shining a light on the incredible women who’ve left their mark on Fulham Palace. From the first female Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, to head gardener Lucy Hart, and Sian Harrington, the CEO leading the Palace’s transformation, these women embody resilience, creativity, and empowerment.

Sarah Mullally

Today, we celebrate the remarkable achievements and contributions of women around the world. One such inspiring figure is Dame Sarah Mullally, the current Bishop of London.

Sarah Mullally exemplifies strength, compassion and leadership. Bishop Sarah is the 133rd Bishop of London, but the first woman to hold this post.

Bishop Sarah’s commitment to social justice and equality extends beyond the pulpit.  In her role, Bishop Sarah has championed inclusivity and diversity within the Church of England, advocating for the empowerment of women and marginalized communities. Not only is Bishop Sarah a self-proclaimed feminist, but she also ordains both men and women to the priesthood. She is a key supporter in the church with Living in Love and Faith and supports the observance of LGBTQ+ History Month. Through her compassionate leadership, she has sparked meaningful dialogue and fostered greater understanding and acceptance. Her dedication to serving others embodies the true spirit of compassion and empathy.

What we have to remember is, this is about people, and the church seeks to demonstrate love to all, because it reflects the God of love, who loves everybody

Rt Rev. and Rt Hon. the Lord Bishop of London DBE Sarah Mullally

On this International Women’s Day, let us celebrate Dame Sarah Mullally and all women who inspire positive change and make the world a better place. Together, let us continue to strive for equality, justice, and opportunity for all.

Sian Harrington

For more than a decade, Sian has been dedicated to Fulham Palace and its charitable goals, showing resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment. As CEO of Fulham Palace Trust, she’s played a pivotal role in preserving history, engaging communities, and celebrating cultural heritage.

Sian’s journey began as a volunteer at Newport Museum in 1988. Since then, she’s held various positions including development officer, property manager, curator, and now, as one of the few female directors in the heritage sector, the Chief Executive of Fulham Palace.

In her role, Sian has transformed Fulham Palace into a vibrant centre for education, the arts, and community engagement. Her strategic vision has driven the Trust forward, fostering unity and inclusivity.

Joining Fulham Palace shortly after the formation of Fulham Palace Trust in 2011, Sian has led the organisation to financial sustainability while sharing the Palace’s rich history. Under her leadership, Fulham Palace secured a £2 million National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, amongst other things, enabling the Palace to restore the Tudor court and great hall to their former glory as well as opening a new museum for visitors to discover the history of the Palace.

Beyond her professional achievements, Sian is an advocate for women’s empowerment and leadership development. Through mentorship and advocacy, she promotes equality and diversity.

Sian takes pride in her efforts to address inequalities in access to jobs and narratives within the heritage sector. In the Palace’s latest exhibition, ‘The Bishops of London, colonialism and transatlantic slavery: resistance’ Sian ensured that the exhibition was informed and led by artists, freelancers and participants who are descended from those who were enslaved or indentured.

Sian’s tenure at Fulham Palace reflects her dedication to the organization’s mission and her broader commitment to social justice.

Lucy Hart

Meet Lucy Hart, the head gardener at Fulham Palace, whose passion for nature blossomed at the age of 13, leading her to a fulfilling career dedicated to transforming and caring for London’s second-oldest botanic garden.

With over a decade of experience as Fulham Palace’s head gardener, Lucy blends sustainability, creativity and care in her work. Her responsibilities involve nurturing the historic gardens of Fulham Palace.

Lucy’s innovative ideas have revitalized the grounds, seamlessly merging tradition with modern practices. One of her initial projects upon joining the Palace was rejuvenating the walled garden, which involved replanting the Victorian knot garden. Residents near the Palace have witnessed Lucy’s craftsmanship reflected in various areas, from the natural play area to the blooming bank of daffodils and blue flowers along the east of the Palace, where a moat once stood.

Her commitment to organic gardening practices and wildlife preservation has transformed Fulham Palace into a haven for flora and fauna. Recent surveys have recorded 39 bird species and 20 butterfly species thriving within the Palace grounds.

In addition to her visible impact on the Palace’s gardens, Lucy has left a lasting impression on those she has mentored through the Palace’s garden apprentice scheme. Originally developed under Lucy’s guidance, this 18-month practical work placement scheme has propelled apprentices into various horticultural endeavours, including roles at Windsor Castle, Great Dixter, and Syon House, as well as opportunities to become Kew Diploma students or trainees at RHS Harlow Carr and Chelsea Physic Garden. Lucy serves as a role model for numerous apprentices and aspiring horticulturists, particularly women breaking into fields traditionally dominated by men.

This International Women’s Day, we’re honoring the remarkable contributions of women at Fulham Palace. Through their dedication, hard work, and unwavering support, their work has become integral parts of the Palace’s rich history.