A 200-year old mansion house that sits in the middle of Brockwell Park and is mainly used by the council park staff is to be restored and opened to the public.
The Grade II* listed Brockwell Hall was built between 1811-1813, and both the hall and land surrounding it was bought by the London County Council (LCC) in March 1891 following campaigning by the local MP, Thomas Bristowe, to prevent it from being developed into housing estates.
The land opened as Brockwell Park in June 1892.
The opening of the park while hugely popular with the public was marred by the sudden death of Sir Thomas Bristowe MP, aged 59, who died of a heart attack inside the Hall he had just saved, having fallen ill during the opening ceremony.
(many sources today say he died on the steps of the hall, but the newspaper reports of the time say he was taken to a room inside the hall and a doctor tried to save his life)
The hall was in a very poor state following WW2, and was nearly demolished, and for some time the hall was used as a ground floor cafe with council facilities above. It was put up for sale in 1991 following a bad fire the year before, and although restored, and partly used as a cafe, it has fallen into some disrepair in recent years.
Lambeth Council, in partnership with Brockwell Park Community Partners, has now been granted £3.3million by the National Lottery Heritage Fund towards a project to restore Brockwell Hall, its Stables and Coach House into a venue for community and commercial use.
The proposals include creating a new community events space for up to 200 people, created by building a permanent roof between the current Hall and the underused Stables and Coach House buildings.
To improve accessibility, a new lift will be installed inside the Hall, and there will be landscaping around the Hall, with new stairs and an accessible path to the main entrance. A lot of the currently closed-off areas used by the council staff will also be opened up to the public for the first time ever.
Work on the Hall will start later this year and the new Hall will open to the public in spring 2023 – its 210th anniversary.