The appeal for funds was launched yesterday – 26 April by Marlborough Mayor Mark Cooper and Trust Chair Alison Galvin-Wright with a target of raising £150,000 to cover the cost of the works needed to ensure that this landmark building on Marlborough’s High Street is conserved for future generations.
More than thirty years ago, in 1990 Marlborough Town Council bought The Merchant’s House when it came up for sale, recognising its importance as an asset for the community.
The Merchant’s House Trust was subsequently formed to conserve and maintain this iconic 17th century silk merchant’s house and it was leased by the Council to the Trust for a peppercorn rent.
In the years since, the Trust, under the Chairmanship of the late Sir John Sykes and a group of dedicated volunteers, have carried out an extensive programme of fundraising to discover the hidden gems within the House, including unique wall paintings which have survived since 1653 and are now conserved. Furniture of the period was purchased and items gifted by many donors.
The Trust has gone from strength to strength and over the years. The much loved Shop was opened, a 17th century style garden was created, guided tours introduced, the Turkeywork Project was undertaken by volunteers, and an Educational Project started to introduce primary school children to the 17th century. Events have flourished and the promised Marlborough Museum was finally opened.
The Merchant’s House is truly a community project and its website attracts visitors from further afield. Covid-19 has dealt everyone a severe blow and curtailed all the things that were taken from granted.
However, over the past year the Trust has taken the opportunity to commission a report on the state of the house itself. This discovered that a great deal of work was required on the roof and many other aspects of the building. In addition, the remaining window on the second floor is being installed to bring symmetry to the façade. Hence the recent appearance of the ‘scaffolding cladding’.
Marlborough Mayor Mark Cooper told Marlborough.news:” I am absolutely delighted to support the Merchants House 30th Anniversary appeal, the Merchants house does a fantastic job of educating residents and visitors to the town about the wonderful history of not only the building itself but of the town and is a key piece of Marlborough history”
Trust Chair Alison Galvin-Wright said: “We want to ensure that The Merchant’s House will be in good condition for the generations to come. It’s a unique and vitally important window into Marlborough’s heritage and whilst we’ve focused on the interior in the previous thirty years, now it’s the exterior and this appeal will ensure that is done. We thank the Town Council and the people of Marlborough for all their help.”
For any further information about the Merchant’s House Trust or how to donate, click here to contact Charlie Usher, Fundraising Manager for The Merchant’s House, or click here to go directly to the ‘Donate’ page.