Vaults beneath London's famous Mall Galleries to become part of new heritage centre

By Culture24 Reporter | 28 November 2011
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A photo of a grand, tall Victorian house on a London street
The vaults beneath The Mall Galleries are about to see the light of day
Brick Vaults built for servants beneath The Mall Galleries, on the site where King George IV’s London home once stood, will be opened to the public in a £285,000 restoration project after owners won a lucrative lottery grant.

Built in 1863 to replace the Prince Regent's former stomping ground in the capital, the Grade I-listed building at 17 Carlton House Terrace features ten multi-purpose spaces, once used as kitchens, pantries, dining areas and quarters for servants, sculleries, larders and stores.

They will be made available to visitors for the first time with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund award of more than £166,000, creating space for exhibitions, learners, conservation apprentices and heritage activities.

"This project will transform our organisation and will help us deliver huge returns by way of free arts and heritage education," said Lewis McNaught, a Director at the galleries, adding that planners had already consulted community leaders and experts on a new Heritage Learning Centre which would be "responsive to the diverse needs of our audiences."

Built to a typical Victorian upstairs-downstairs design originally conceived by architect John Nash during the 1820s, the layout of the vault is considered nationally important.

Number 17 was the last house to be built in a symmetrical row of palatial terraces, and is also home to the Federation of British Artists.

Sue Bowers, of the HLF, said the "wonderful project" would result in the "very welcome addition" of a dedicated learning facility.

"It will conserve the historic vaults of one of London's grandest terraces, where damp means that urgent action is required," she explained.

The four-month programme of works are expected to start at the end of next year, but the Federation of British Artists is still looking for potential supporters as it bids to raise £120,000 in match-funding.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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