The Friends of Sherborne House

Sherborne House is a fine Grade 1 listed house. The principal part was built in the Palladian style in 1720 for Henry Seymour Portman.

It latterly belonged to Dorset County Council and had been Lord Digby's School. However, when the school was amalgamated with others the building became redundant and a Trust was formed to restore the House and keep it for the use of the community as a visual arts centre and also to ensure public access to the Thornhill mural.

The Friends of Sherborne House was formed in 1996 to support the Trust in its efforts to raise funding to restore the House and has been active ever since.

There have been many hopes for success in the last several years including gaining major funding from the Lottery Fund but these have not come to fruition.

The Friends are delighted that the House has recently been bought and a charitable trust formed to restore it and open it as an arts venue and will continue in their mission of support.

The Sherborne House Trust

Sherborne House, Dorset

The Sherborne House Trust (2018) has been formed with three Trustees Michael Cannon, Sally Cannon and Chris Mitchell. This Trust has acquired the freehold of Sherborne House. Its charitable objects are as follows:

  1. The objects for which the charity is established (the objects) are restricted to promoting and advancing the education of the public in the arts, in particular, but not exclusively by 1.1 promoting and providing facilities for participation in the arts; and 1.2 fostering and promoting the improvement and development of artistic knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the arts; and
  2. Restoring, preserving and maintaining, for the public benefit, Sherborne House Dorset including the Thornhill Mural, situated within Sherborne House

The Trust is now in detail discussions with its architect and with Historic England about the restoration of the House. There is likely to be an extended period before any physical restoration can commence.

The Paddock Project

The Sherborne Arts Trust has put out the following statement on the 27th April 2020

The Sherborne Arts Trust recently published a newsletter which announced that work on the Paddock Project was suspended, in line with government guidance. Since then, the pandemic crisis has deepened significantly and it is against this background that its benefactor has judged the Paddock Project can no longer proceed as planned, a conclusion which the trustees of the Sherborne Arts Trust regrettably accept.

The Trust says we won't know how much our lives will be changed when we return to normal but it is clear that assumptions about funding and operation that were central to the Paddock business plan can no longer be relied upon. The trustees hope that after all the time, effort and investment that has been sunk into the project, something can be recovered, but that won't be clear until the dust has settled and we are able to take stock of the new circumstances. Whatever any revised project might look like, it will not be on the same scale as the current design.

This will be a huge disappointment to all of you upon whose support we have relied and a blow to the whole community of Sherborne. But just as significant a blow is the fact that no replacement project will be big enough to require a director as capable and experienced as Emma Morris and her role will be lost. As a result, and with the greatest regret, we have had to terminate her contract. This is a bitter disappointment for us all as Emma has caught everyone's attention with her passion and enthusiasm and she will be sorely missed.

The disappointment we all feel has to be taken in the wider context of the pandemic and its consequences, but that is little consolation for the loss of a project that promised so much. We will, of course, seek the widest public consultation on any replacement project, once the time is right.

The Friends of Sherborne House, St Andrew's, Westbury, Sherborne DT9 3RA