The UK government announced last week a four-stage roadmap to re-open hospitality, accommodation and places of interest, with the plan seeing most being fully reopened by the end of May. Even after re-opening, tight social distancing restrictions would remain in place for the foreseeable future.
We welcomed the announcement and have considered it against a set of criteria: being a safe venue, our staff safety and well-being, and the viability of reopening the hall.
After careful consideration, we feel the size of our facilities and the limitations on numbers being imposed mean that it just wouldn’t be viable or safe to reopen the historic house, café or to run our pilgrimages and education programmes this year. We do, however, intend to continue offering our three self-contained accommodation suites from 12 April 2021.
Whilst we understand that this will be some disappointing news to our loyal customers and Friends, we are intending to use this time well. We will undertake some much-needed heritage conservation work to the old hall.
The work which will last until 2022 will aim to:
- Remove the current render which is causing long term damage to the oak beans,
- Replace the unsafe balcony,
- Do some conservation work to the interiors of the historic hall, including furniture and artefacts.
These projects are part of the preparations to refresh the interpretation of the historic house, in time for Georges Fox’s 400th birthday.
We are also going to take this opportunity to upgrade and extend the size of the carpark. This will include installing an electric charging point, allowing us to offer a greener option and to welcome more visitors in the future. We hope that this will also make the hall more sustainable and viable in the long run.
Our small team of staff will continue to oversee the self-catering lets, upkeep the site and support the refurbishment project.
The Swarthmoor Hall Team