Willmer House Saved at Last!

Farnham Residents councillors have been instrumental in saving the Farnham Museum located in Grade 1 listed Willmer House. The museum has been awarded a £734,335 rescue package by Arts Council England for essential (and long overdue) repairs to its historic home, Willmer House. The 18th-century building is a Grade I-listed Georgian town house, considered by Historic England to be of exceptional heritage and architectural merit. 

But the attractive building has been masked by unsightly scaffolding for the past five years after engineers warned in November 2018, that the poor condition of its 300-year-old facade was putting the public at risk. But with the total cost of the repairs estimated at an eye-watering £1 million, Waverley Borough Council warned it would be unable to fund the repairs by itself.

Much of the original detail has been lost through long term decay and erosion. As a result, building owners Waverley Borough Council was facing a bill of up to £1 million for the most basic of repairs to the building. Several options have been considered, including relocating the town museum elsewhere. But the Arts Council funding will not only help to finance the repairs but allow the really important heritage site to be kept in public ownership too.

Farnham Town Council and Farnham Museum Society have each committed to contribute £10,000 with Waverley Borough Council committing to fund the remaining £200,000 meaning the repairs can now begin. Not only does this guarantee the Farnham Museum can remain in the building, but it enables Willmer House itself to become the jewel in the crown of the museum’s collection. 

Kika Mirylees

 Farnham Residents spokesperson for Culture

Councillor Kika Mirylees, Waverley’s portfolio holder for culture, said: “As someone who is committed to the arts, I am so delighted that finally, after years of trying, we have got Arts Council funding for the museum and Willmer House. This has been a long and difficult process, and although At a time when funding is in short supply and projects such as this might not be considered a priority, it’s thanks to the work of our officers and others, not forgetting our friends at the Maltings, that has enabled us to get what we needed.”

“I know so many people have been very concerned about the museum and I imagine they will be very relieved to hear the good news as well. I am so looking forward to seeing the scaffolding removed and the beautiful facade of the Grade I-listed house there for all to see once more. This is great news.”

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