25th September 2018
HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits West Horsley Place, The Grange Centre and Surrey History Centre
The mediaeval manor house at West Horsley Place was first stop for HRH The Duke of Gloucester on his early autumn 2018 visit to Surrey. He was shown the current restoration of this historic building and learnt about The Mary Roxburghe Trust’s vision to restore the house, gardens, 380-acre estate and eight Grade II listed outbuildings, and to create a vibrant centre for the performing, visual and creative arts and crafts. As part of that vision, the Royal visitor was invited to visit the UK’s first new 21st century opera house, The Theatre in the Woods, built and operated at West Horsley Place by Grange Park Opera.
The Grange Centre at Great Bookham was next on the Royal itinerary, where the Duke – who is Royal Patron – opened the New Heritage Room on the first floor of the Main House. He spent time talking with residents and staff, made scones with the catering team, and met three generations: Audrey Warboys, a member of staff in 1949 at the School of Stitchery and Lace, then at the Grange; Peggy Brooks, who joined as a trainee in 1955; and Joanna, a resident in the Supported Living service, who is currently training to be a tour guide for the New Heritage Room.
The tour concluded at Surrey History Centre in Woking, to mark a double anniversary: the 70th anniversary of the creation of Surrey County Council’s professional archive service and the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Centre as a purpose-built home for Surrey’s heritage services. The Duke unveiled a plaque and toured the Centre with archivists and curators.
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