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  1. Published on: 12/10/2020 03:34 PMReported by: roving-eye
    Historic Meols Hall in Southport has today been awarded £125,000 from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

    The money will enable the landmark venue in Churchtown to secure ongoing restoration and conservation of items such as books and paintings.

    It will also enable the endless replacement of the fabric of the house such as window frames, gutters and tiles.

    All of these are ongoing necessities to keep Meols Hall as the owners have promised to – a gem of the North West, redolent with history and hope for the future.

    Meols Hall owner Catherine Hesketh said: We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded £125,000 from the National Heritage Culture Fund.

    “This will enable us to provide for the treasured buildings and collection of Meols Hall.
    “The knock-on effect of Covid-19 threatened the very existence of Meols Hall: the collection, the buildings themselves, the weddings, the local events and fundraisers were all under threat if the Government had not stepped in. Thank you.”

    Meols Hall is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country which will receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

    A total of 445 organisations will share £103 million, including Meols Hall and The Atkinson in Southport, to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.

    With no weddings able to take place at the moment, Meols Hall has a huge gap in its funding, but the award will help it to ride the current storm.

    The wedding business is small but its contribution to the local community is considerable, from the caterer, to the cake maker, the photographer, the florist, the DJ, the classic car company, the glass hire folk, to the rubbish collectors and so many more, the symbiotic relationship between Meols Hall and the community is worth preserving.

    A Meols Hall spokesperson said: “It doesn’t look as though there will be any viable weddings for a long time to come.

    “The grant will give the staff an opportunity to Covid-proof Meols Hall and come up with imaginative alternatives for our buildings, grounds and our community.

    “Perhaps we will take a leaf out of the venue in Chelmsford’s book and start drive-in weddings.

    “We are now in a position to move forward thanks to the Culture Recovery Fund.”
    This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund - funded by the Government and administered at arm’s length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

    Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.

    Other famous heritage sites across the country will receive funding, from Went
    worth Woodhouse in Yorkshire to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Blyth Tall Ship to the Severn Valley Railway, the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to the Piece Hall in Halifax. The funds will save sites that are a source of pride for communities across the country.

    Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”

    Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, said: “There’s no truer way to experience the past than to walk in the footsteps of those who have lived it – that’s why preserving our built heritage is so important.

    “At Historic Royal Palaces, we care for six nationally significant buildings, opening them to the public and preserving them for future generations. Sadly, the pandemic meant that we had to stop some of our critical conservation work. The grant we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund will enable this work to resume – so we can give some of Britain’s most historic buildings the care and attention they deserve, while supporting the specialist craftspeople who are vital for the future of our national heritage. We are enormously grateful to the Government for this support.”
    Meols Hall, the Tithe Barn and adjacent buildings and grounds are conditionally exempted properties on grounds of their national interest.

    Redolent with history, Meols Hall is the oldest manor house in Southport, dating back to the 15th century and has remained in the same hands for 27 generations.

    It was extensively remodelled in the 1960s by Roger Hesketh and features in, among other books, The Latest Country Houses, 1945-83 by John Martin Robinson. It houses a fine collection of family paintings, furniture and china.

    Catherine Hesketh said: “Sadly, we couldn’t open to the public this year, but the building doesn’t just self mothball, the collection doesn’t stop needing conservation just because Covid gets in the way of visiting.

    “Thanks to this grant we will open next year in fine order and will have put in place measures that will ensure that staff and visitors are safe.

    “We will host fundraising events and our magical weddings.
    “We will continue and we will be an even shinier star in the firmament of Southport.”
    Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said: “It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19.

    “These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites.

    “The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”
    Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by the Government is crucial. Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live. All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.


    “Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet. But this hugely welcome funding from the Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organizations that care for it being permanently lost.”
     

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  3. said says:12/10/2020 06:02 PM
    I did not know that this building is open to the public as I have never seen anyone else enter the property apart from a rare visit by the private owners whom I believe use it as a retreat from their London base.

  4. BrigNowPort says:12/10/2020 06:32 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by said View Post
    I did not know that this building is open to the public as I have never seen anyone else enter the property apart from a rare visit by the private owners whom I believe use it as a retreat from their London base.
    I've been in - it's very nice, sure it's not Tatton or Holyrood but as a bit of local history it's a pleasant enough tour.

  5. PENTHOUSEJOE says:12/10/2020 06:50 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by BrigNowPort View Post
    I've been in - it's very nice, sure it's not Tatton or Holyrood but as a bit of local history it's a pleasant enough tour.
    why dont you go there said. open to locals

  6. K-T says:13/10/2020 04:01 PM
    I must say this doesn't seem to be the best use of public funds.
    The house is run privately as a wedding venue and is only open to the public on odd days by appointment.

  7. local says:13/10/2020 05:18 PM
    I can only conclude the sales of Guinness are down,

    just why are poor people subsidising rich people's house maintenance?

  8. stephen2001 says:14/10/2020 04:17 PM
    Meols Hall always used to be open to the public every year for about three weeks from mid-August to early September.

    The exact dates were given on a permanent sign displayed next to the gate opposite the Hesketh Arms in Churchtown. This year that sign was removed and the Hall has not been open to the public, perhaps because of Covid-19.

    The Hall is also occasionally used for wedding receptions and for events such as 'bridal fairs' (i.e. selling wedding dresses etc.)

    I'm not at all clear why it qualifies for receipt of public funds

  9. Sap33 says:15/10/2020 09:25 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by local View Post
    I can only conclude the sales of Guinness are down,

    just why are poor people subsidising rich people's house maintenance?
    A friend works for the estate and I asked him about the maintenance question. His take was that the maintenance is usually paid by the owners, but as the pandemic has restricted the income of the estate, then without the grant, cuts would need to be made elsewhere (ie the staff!). He thought that the grant was similar to the furlough scheme In that that many rich businesses owners had happily taken that rather than dip into their own pockets.

    Basically, the rich wouldn’t suffer either way, but without the grant, the workers would.


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