What’s the problem? If you take a walk to the Brentham Club you will easily see that the brickwork is crumbling in places, and that at the top of the building the paintwork is peeling badly, and the windowframes are rotting.
What do we have to do? The Clubhouse – which used to be called the Brentham Institute – is a Grade II listed building, so we can’t just get out the ladders and start replacing bricks. The first step is to get a properly qualified surveyor to make a detailed list of the work required: this we have done and got quotes for the work. Roughly £75,000 should cover it.
Doesn’t the Tower belong to the Brentham Club? Yes, it does, and the Brentham Club belongs to its members. And it doesn’t have the kind of money needed to repair the Tower.
So how will we raise the money? We started by asking for donations, applying for grants, and running events. We got as far as £35,000 before things changed dramatically.
What happened? The Club’s managing committee decided to pursue the idea of developing the southern end of the building into flats, which would be leased privately. This would not only raise money for the repairs to the building, but reduce the running costs to the Club. A firm of architects was appointed in the summer of 2017 to re-design the building, and we await the results. While this is an exciting idea, it changed the whole basis on which we were raising money, and some charities asked for their money back.
What is the view of the Brentham Society? The Society is very interested to preserve Brentham Garden Suburb, so is keen to help if it can. But also it has negotiated with the Club that – in exchange for its assistance – the archives held by the Brentham Society will be moved into the Tower. This now seems unlikely, as the Tower will almost certainly become at least one flat, but we very much hope that space will be found within the newly-designed building.
What will happen to the funds already raised? These are safely tucked away in their own Bank Account, awaiting developments. If the Tower is restored in the process of developing the flats, the funds will be used to fit out a room for the archives.
How can I keep abreast of progress? Watch this (web)space – there will be regular updates via the News items. Or join the Brentham Society, and read the regular updates in the Brentham News.
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