Illuminating the wonders of the library

We need your help to raise £10,500 to replace the halogen lighting in Bishop Porteus’ library with new LED lighting.

At a critical time with the costs of running Fulham Palace increasing, LED lighting will reduce energy costs and reduce our carbon footprint which is why we need your help to raise £10,500 to replace the halogen lighting in Bishop Porteus’ library with new LED lighting.

Fulham Palace is not just an important part of history, but a hub for cultural and educational activities. The current lighting system in the library is outdated and inefficient. With this appeal, we would be excited to host more learning events, such as behind-the-scenes talks in the library, to encourage its interpretation and appreciation amongst the community. We could even look at hosting new temporary exhibitions in the space to further our understanding of our collection of over 3,000 books and 13 paintings on display!

LED lighting is not only energy-efficient but also low-maintenance and long-lasting, which means we can reduce our energy costs and minimise our environmental impact while preserving the historic character of the library and collection.

We need your support to make this project a reality. Your donation will be used directly towards the purchase and installation of LED lighting, and every donation counts towards our goal. By donating today, you can help us preserve our historic library for generations to come.


The library at Fulham Palace is named after Bishop Beilby Porteus (1731 -1809), who left a plan, his own books, and a sum of money to build a new library. The Porteus Library is particularly important as it is one of only two rooms (the chapel being the other) that contain significant fixtures and fittings dating to the period of their construction. The library was converted from the former chapel in the 1820s, using Porteus’s bequest. We have been working to sensitively bring the library back to life by presenting it as it appeared in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With restored chairs soon to return to the space, it will evoke once again a comfortable library-cum-drawing room where visitors can sit and read or chat.

The collection

Eleven of the paintings on display are portraits of former Bishops of London, including one of Bishop Porteus. There is also a painting of the Tudor courtyard and a local scene of the Bishop’s walk in Bishop’s Park. Some of the paintings are of better artistic merit than others, but all are important to interpreting the Palace as the historic home of the Bishop of London from 704 to 1973. Porteus’ original book collection is now housed at Senate House Library (University of London), covering topics from the French Revolution to the transatlantic slave trade. The book collection now on display includes old volumes, some of which date to the 17th century, some from loans belonging to the families of previous Bishops of London. The books on religion and Church of England history that we hold are important in their own right.

Why now?

There are a number of dangers and disadvantages associated with the current halogen lights. The covers of the lights are prone to break and shatter, which would cause damage to the collection and bookshelves. Halogen lights are also a known fire risk, which poses a great concern to a historic building with large amounts of wood and plaster. The UV radiation and lux levels emitted by the current lights are above recommended limits. They are causing visible damage to the paintings on display. The lights are inflexible and cannot be directed away from the paintings, so we have been self-limiting the amount of time we put the lights on, which impacts the visitor experience, library opening hours, and collection care activities.

LED lighting will sustainably accentuate features that are lost within the dark space, such as the intricate dome architecture of the ceiling and gothic windows.

Further aspirations of what this fundraising appeal will help us achieve include acquiring more historic books. We would love to display some of the books from the original collection of Porteus, subject to loan agreements with the Senate House library. Improved lighting in the room would significantly strengthen our position in terms of negotiating with lenders.