Save Dorset Hall: video messages of support for International Women’s Day 2021

What incredible timing: we have won proactive support from all political parties in Merton for the Save Dorset Hall campaign – and in time for International Women’s Day, too.

It is clear evidence that the Dorset Hall project has got legs and is already running on them.

High-profile local representatives of the three main political parties have recorded a message of support for Dorset Hall on International Women’s Day.

Watch / listen to Stephen Hammond MP, Paul Kohler and Jackie Schneider below.

Next week talks begin again with Clarion and our City lawyers who are helping us pro bono, for which we are grateful. We will let you know how we get on.

#IWD2021 messages:

Stephen Hammond MP: “Continuing need to campaign”
Jackie Schneider: “Dorset Hall, a place for suffragettes to recuperate”
Paul Kohler: “One of the crowns in Merton’s heritage”

Cross-party support for the Save Dorset Hall campaign

Dorset Hall Group founder Barbara Gorna writes:

As we come up to International Women’s Day on March 8th, I think that it is important to reflect that if we want to get something done, it’s better to work together for a common cause.

I have asked politicians from all three major political parties in Merton to send a short message of support and make a public commitment to save Dorset Hall,

I am pleased to say that Wimbledon’s Conservative MP Stephen Hammond, Paul Kohler of the Lib Dems and Jackie Schneider of Labour have all pledged their support for our cause and will be posting their IWD messages on this blog channel.

To date, it has been a tough fight to get a commitment from Clarion, the owners of the building, to make urgent repairs that will prevent Dorset Hall deteriorating irretrievably. It is a relief that scaffolding has now gone up to halt leaks through the roof.

Our next step is to work with heritage experts to help with restoration of the inside of the building which has suffered water ingress.

Heritage England are on board. The Wimbledon Society are on board and we are listed as an important site on Mapping Women’s Suffrage.

As we move forward, we will be asking for best ideas for usage of the site – we intend to publish the most interesting and relevant, so do please get in touch with your thoughts.

Tom True, our heritage and museum expert who has just joined the Dorset Hall Group team, will be looking at the best way forward in the coming months.

We hope to continue to work with Clarion to produce the best outcome for all.

As ever, please do get in touch if you can help, want to get involved with the Dorset Hall Group or have memories / information to share.

The Dorset Hall Group team members: Barbara Gorna, Iain Simpson, Hugh Morgan, Simon Hood, Tom True

Scaffolding goes up at Dorset Hall

A great first step in our bid to conserve Dorset Hall: scaffolding was erected around the house this afternoon, prior to repair works beginning on the roof to make the building watertight.

Clarion Housing tells us that it will take around two weeks to finish getting the scaffolding in place. External works to weather-proof Dorset Hall will then take some two months.

The house has already suffered internal damage, but there is no agreement yet on how to rectify this. Talks with Clarion are ongoing.

It is reassuring that further damage will be limited following the roof repairs. However, there is a long way to go before Rose Lamartine Yates’ former home is in a fit state to provide the community space we hope for.

Would you like to help us in the battle to save Dorset Hall for the community? Please get in touch – your assistance is welcome.

Basic repair works “to begin next week”

At long last, Clarion Housing group has scheduled a start date for urgent repair works to Dorset Hall. The roof has suffered damage for months, with weather ingress which has led to a ceiling collapse.

We learn that ‘a suitable contractor’ has been engaged, and works will get under way next week. Contractors are expected to arrive on site Monday or Tuesday.

Clarion Housing tells us by email: ‘The site will be fenced off and the site cabins delivered at that point. The scaffolding of the building will begin shortly afterwards. Meanwhile, we are in discussion with the Council’s Heritage Officer to agree next steps.’

The Times highlights our cause

Many thanks to The Times for featuring Save Dorset Hall this week. Raising the profile of our campaign to preserve this historic home for future community use is an important step in our mission.