Timeline of Events
8th June 2017
Grange Park Opera’s inaugural festival season at West Horsley Place opens with the great Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja in Tosca.
Oct. 2016 - May 2017
Intensive planning and evaluation takes place of the works needed to conserve West Horsley Place and prepare for its new life as a centre for culture and the arts and crafts, starting with an emergency works phase to address immediate structural needs in the house. Preparations are made to submit an Arts Planning Application for the site’s multiple activities as required by the Theatre in the Woods planning consent when granted in summer 2017. This includes a public consultation day on May 7.
A conservation management plan is created and provides a strategic assessment of the historic significance of the house, buildings and estate and their condition, so as to establish a basis for appropriate conservation and management. The document includes an implementation strategy in an Action Plan.
The Theatre in the Woods has a roof and at the topping out ceremony the casket containing the duchess’s ashes is placed deep in the foundations, beneath where the first violinists will play.
Peter Pearce FRICS is appointed Director of the Mary Roxburghe Trust.
West Horsley Place is added to the Heritage at Risk Register by English Heritage.
The Mary Roxburghe Trust becomes the legal owner of the West Horsley Place estate.
Building work starts on the Theatre in the Woods.
Grange Park Opera is granted planning consent for the Theatre in the Woods with a summer opera season of up to 30 performances.
Adrian Lajtha succeeds Bamber Gascoigne as chairman of the Mary Roxburghe Trust.
Martin Ashley Architects is appointed as conservation architect to oversee phase one of the restoration works at West Horsley Place and all the significant related buildings.
The Mary Roxburghe Trust is granted charitable status.
A joint press release by the Mary Roxburghe Trust and Grange Park Opera makes public GPO’s move to West Horsley Place as a tenant of the Mary Roxburghe Trust and their plans to build the Theatre in the Woods and stage a summer opera festival.
A public consultation is held to seek public opinion on the collaboration with Grange Park Opera and the creation of the Theatre in the Woods.
Bamber Gascoigne, Angela Kidner and Gillian Wolfe CBE become the first trustees of the proposed charity, the Mary Roxburghe Trust.
Bamber and Christina Gascoigne are approached by Grange Park Opera, seeking a new home. It is agreed that a collaboration with Grange Park Opera would be a welcome first step in establishing a vibrant arts centre at West Horsley Place and a 99-year lease is agreed for GPO’s annual opera festival.
Bamber and Christina Gascoigne decide to set up a charity, the Mary Roxburghe Trust, with the object of restoring the house and its related buildings and of making the estate a thriving centre of public involvement, particularly through the encouragement of the performing and visual arts and the teaching of crafts of all kinds. Bamber will transfer to the charity the ownership of the entire estate and the proceeds of three sales at Sotheby’s of the duchess’s possessions.
A preliminary survey reveals that the cost of restoring the house alone will be in the region of £7.3 million.
Bamber Gascoigne unexpectedly inherits West Horsley Place from his great-aunt, Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe. The house, buildings and structures and 380 acre estate are of significant historic and architectural importance but are in a very poor state of repair. The house itself is Grade I listed and in its immediate vicinity there are eight Grade II listed features.