Scarlett Millar, Development & Communications Manager
West Front of Knole, Kent
Royal Oak thanks all our members and supporters across the U.S. who have made the Campaign for Knole our most successful fundraising project for a single National Trust property to-date. Since the launch in early 2012, gifts totaling $1,242,935 have been received to support the conservation of Knole’s Ballroom and its contents. This includes a major grant of $100,000 received from the Richard C. von Hess Foundation in December 2013.
We have seen an outpouring of enthusiasm and passion for Knole and its many layers of history. Royal Oak supporters’ commitment to fund the restoration of the Ballroom is a key element in the larger, decade-long conservation and reinterpretation. Royal Oak’s support also played a significant role in securing the essential £7.75 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the project.
Royal Oak’s major donors to the Campaign for Knole have also shown support for Knole by participating in the campaign’s special events. These included our Royal London Weekend in February 2012, during which HRH The Prince of Wales was presented with the Keystone Award at Buckingham Palace and last September’s Magnificence Preserved Weekend in London, which culminated with a historic dinner in the Great Hall at Knole hosted by Lord and Lady Sackville. Royal Oak extends a special thank you to the Sackvilles and to the National Trust’s brilliant team at Knole, led by Property Manager Stephen Dedman and Fundraising Manager Victoria Phillips, for their extraordinary support for our campaign throughout the last two years.
Work has already started in the Ballroom, with much-needed repairs to the exterior stonework and window frames complete. However there is still much to be done, including installing insulation and underfloor heating elements to protect the room and its important contents from further damage. The conservators are currently working on plans to manage the building work in the Ballroom. As it is one of the earliest parts of the building, they must be extremely cautious and approach lifting floorboards and removing paneling with great care. The uncovering of the original Tudor wall surfaces will be a dramatic moment, and Royal Oak will keep you informed of the progress of the work here and throughout the house.
The Campaign for Knole has been a significant achievement for Royal Oak. The Foundation is very grateful to all donors to the campaign for helping to build a brighter future for Knole and recovering this forgotten palace, one of Britain’s most astonishing treasures, for all of us.