The SAHGB runs study days to sites of interest in Britain and abroad throughout the year.
For more information please email the event organisers:
A performance of Englebert Humperdinck’s Hänsel and Gretel , with a short, pre-performance guided tour of the West Horsley Place and the backstage of the Opera House, led by the CEO, Wasfi Kani OBE.
The SAHGB has been generously offered 20 tickets at £50 each.
There are three arrangements for dinner:
The tour of the house and theatre will start at 16.15, and the performance will begin at 18.00. There is a long interval for dinner, and the evening will end at about 21.45. You may linger in the garden until 22.45. Many guests wear formal evening wear (black tie/long dress), but stylish creativity is encouraged. Members will make their own way to West Horsley Place. Classic cars are available to drive guests to and from Horsley Station. For those coming by car, there is free car-parking in the grounds which open at 16.00.
West Horsley Place dates from the C15. This medieval house, probably a L-plan building, was altered to an H-plan in the C16. The south front was refaced circa 1630 in what Pevsner calls ‘the Artisan style of the Dutch House at Kew’. Further work was done to the exterior in the C17 and C18. Internally, there is one small, late-C16 staircase but the main staircase is late-C17. Pevsner describes most of the interiors as ‘very plain C18’. The Grade 1 listed house was the home of Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe but when she died in 2014, at the age of 99, it passed — to his great surprise — to her great-nephew, the broadcaster and onetime quiz-master of University Challenge, Bamber Gascoigne. He made the property over to the Mary Roxburghe Trust as a performance centre and a place for the study of arts and crafts. Meanwhile, the late Duchess’s ashes were buried in the foundations of the new opera house.
In 2017 Grange Park Opera relocated from Northington Grange, Hampshire, to West Horsley Place, Surrey, and in eleven months built a five-storey opera house modelled on La Scala, Milan, seating 750 people. The Times Arts Awards acknowledged the achievement as the ‘fastest construction of an opera house in history’. The architect was Tim Ronalds Architects. See here for more information.
The most recent addition to the complex is the Lavatorium Rotundum. Consultant architect, David Lloyd Jones, a founding partner of Studio E and an advocate of sustainable architecture, describes it as ‘a ‘40s fitted-out pavilion dedicated to your essential needs.’ Built of brick and with a grass roof, it features a 1940s interior complete with green puddle-glaze tiles, 47 original Ministry of Defence light shades and an option of Bronco loo-paper. The gents includes a communal octagonal washing trough.
Tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To book your ticket and any dining call Grange Park Opera on 01962 737373 and quote ref: ‘SAHGB Outing’ (open Monday-Friday, 9.30-5.30), or email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org Grange Park Opera will be in touch to confirm your booking and take payment.
Grange Park Opera is a not-for-profit organisation and a registered charity.
A Study Day led by Will Palin (Conservation Director) and Pete Smith took place at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. The former royal palace at Greenwich was partly rebuilt to the designs of John Webb between 1664 and 1672 – the King Charles Building. The site was vested in the trustees of the Royal Naval College in 1694. Sir Christopher Wren designed the new hospital with its twin domes framing the view of the Queen’s House from 1696. Nicholas Hawksmoor – the King William Building and the Queen Anne Building – John James and Thomas Ripley oversaw the completion of Wren’s overall design in four phases between 1696 and 1751. A fire in 1779 destroyed Thomas Ripley’s chapel which was rebuilt to the designs of James Stuart between 1780 and 1788. John Yenn rebuilt the west wing of the King Charles Building between 1812 and 1815. The visit will include a chance to climb up into the Wren’s eastern dome and to see close up work on the restoration of the ceiling in the Painted Hall by Sir James Thornhill.
Somerset House. From SJSM, SM_41_1_18_Ardon_Bar_Hama.
A Study Day led by Adam Menuge with Claire Gapper explored Slyfield House, a residence purchased by George Shiers, Apothecary to King James I, for £3,080 in 1614. He largely rebuilt the house in brick soon after acquiring the property. His daughter-in law, Elizabeth bequeathed the property to Hugh Shortrudge, and on his death in 1720 it was vested in trustees for the benefit of Exeter College, Oxford. In 1743 the trustees ordered the demolition of the Great Hall thereby separating the present Slyfield House from the farmhouse. The Trustees sold the estate in 1876 to Canon Frederick Philips who continued to let the house. It was eventually purchased by our hosts, Paul and Vanessa Richards in 1983. The house is built of mellow red brick and the main south front is decorated with a magnificent range of giant Ionic pilasters and a projecting former centrepiece topped with a crude pediment. Inside the house contains much of its original woodwork including a number of panelled rooms, a fine staircase with strapwork panels, rusticated newels and dog-gates plus a series of remarkable plaster ceilings. Coffee, Lunch and Tea was included and the event concluded around 3.30pm.