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English Heritage To Assume Management Of Apsley House - No.1 London

 

144/03

The management of Apsley House - the London home of the Duke of Wellington and one of the capital's most important historic buildings – is to pass to English Heritage, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced today.

The house – famously known as No. 1 London - attracted  nearly 65,000 visitors last year of which over 15,000 were children in school groups.

The new management arrangements, which followed an open competition, will come into effect from 1 April 2004.  The house was previously maintained by the Department, and the Museum and its collections were managed by the V&A.  While in the care of the V&A, the Wellington Museum at Apsley House was awarded the 2001 and 2003 Small Visitor Attraction of the Year.

Tessa Jowell said:

" Apsley House is a superb house in its own right, and a glorious part of our national heritage.  It contains a wonderful collection, including major paintings, porcelain, silver and Wellington memorabilia.  I am extremely grateful to the V&A who have cared for this collection and presented it so admirably for over 50 years.

" We are now bringing together the care of both the collection and the building in the hands of English Heritage.  I hope English Heritage will work with the family to ensure an ever improving experience for the thousands of visitors who come to the House every year."

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Welcoming the decision to pass the management of Apsley House to English Heritage, on behalf of the nation, Dr Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage said:

"We look forward to working in partnership with the Wellesley family so that the history and the significance of Apsley House and its contents can be understood and enjoyed by many more people.

"The 1st Duke of Wellington played an immensely important role in the nation's history and Apsley House provides visitors with the opportunity to appreciate this."

On behalf of the V&A, Mark Jones, its director, said:

"We wish English Heritage well in caring for this eminent historic building and presenting its important collections."


Notes to Editors

Apsley House was designed by Robert Adam between 1771 and 1778. The Duke of Wellington bought the house in 1817 and used it as his London home until his death in 1852. Wellington enlarged the house adding on the 90 foot Waterloo Gallery and enriched it with his magnificent art collection. It has been the London home of the Dukes of Wellington ever since.  Further details are given on the Apsley House website.

Under the terms of the Wellington Museum Act 1947, Apsley House and its contents were given to the Nation by the seventh Duke of Wellington and the family retained apartments in the House. Since then the V&A Museum has been responsible for the administration and collections of the Wellington Museum and the Government has been directly responsible for the building.

It acquired its famous address - No.1 London - soon after it was built due to its prominent location as the first house encountered after the toll-gate into London from the villages of Knightsbridge and Kensington to the west.

The Department resolved in 1998 to devolve the heritage functions that it performed directly – in this case, the maintenance of Apsley House.  It also wanted to bring together the management of the house and the collection into an integrated whole.


 

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