Ambitious �2million vision for future of historic Highgate building

An ambitious �2million campaign to transform a treasured Highgate heritage building into a modern arts centre has been launched.

The management team at Lauderdale House has called on Highgate residents on The Rich List and influential faces to support the Grade II listed property situated in beautiful gardens in Waterlow Park.

The 16th century house is a thriving arts and education centre used by hundreds of school children, but it needs major work to modernise facilities.

Carolyn Naish, director of Lauderdale House, said: “There are lots and lots of people out there with lots of dosh. If you’ve got contacts that you know are in trusts and foundations, if you’ve got people that you know are on The Rich List, come with us. If you want to come on the voyage with us it would be fantastic to have you involved.”

The future vision for the house was revealed for the first time at the annual general meeting on Monday (July 4) after a Heritage Lottery grant of �128,000 paid for architect’s plans to be drawn-up over the last year.

Dowdy modern extensions will be demolished and replaced with a glass workshop and classroom opening onto the park and modern toilet facilities, a lift and better disabled access will be installed.

Ms Naish said: “A lot of the trusts and foundations I’m going to are really very emphatic that the education work is not hidden away and that people should be able to look in and see young people learning and studying in the building, as well as the young people being able to look out over the park. For me education is very much a central part of the building.”

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Heritage features will also be restored, such as a wooden display case known as Nell Gwyn’s bath - which belonged to the mistress of King Charles II.

The Lauderdale House team are planning a new lottery bid next March but are likely to have to raise �1.5million independently and have appealed for anyone that can help or suggest ideas to get in contact on 020 8348 8716.

If the money is raised and planning is granted, building work could begin in autumn 2012.