Arundells, the home of former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath in Salisbury, has reopened to the public for the 2015 season. It’s an exciting year because the house will, for the first time, stage two exhibitions and inaugurate a new exhibition space.
In July it will be 50 years since Sir Edward became the first leader of the Conservative Party not to have been educated at a public school. The exhibition ‘Ready, Steady, Go: Images of Britain in 1965’ will set this event in the wider context of social change and the move to a less class-conscious Britain. Arundells will feature in a special BBC programme to mark the anniversary.
Another exhibition, Heath the Soldier, which will run from April until June, will explore Sir Edward’s military record and his experiences of war which were fundamental to forming his political views.
Salisbury, Magna Carta and the first Heath Lecture
Salisbury has been nominated by the Lonely Planet Guide as one of the top ten Global Cities for 2015. The city hosts one of the four original 1215 Magna Cartas and in its 800th anniversary year the importance of the Charter will be an important theme for the inaugural Edward Heath
Memorial Lecture which will be delivered by a prominent British politician in June.
Arundells ended the 2014 season as Salisbury’s third ranked visitor attraction on Trip Advisor – after the Cathedral and the Close. The strongly favourable visitor feedback is reflected in bookings for 2015, with group bookings already up by more than 250% compared with 2014.
During the closed season the Foundation has begun to work with local schools to realise Arundells’ potential as an educational resource for those studying history, politics and art.
The beautiful 18th Century house, part of which dates back to the 13th century, and its two acre walled garden is the only residence of a British Prime Minister which remains largely as it was when he was alive. The house is located in the Salisbury Cathedral Close at the confluence between the Rivers Avon and Nadder.
Edward Heath was a world class yachtsman and is the only British Prime Minister to have won an international sporting trophy, the Admiral’s Cup – which was the equivalent of the sailing World Cup.
Tragically the third of his five Morning Cloud boats was lost in a storm off the coast of Sussex in September 1974 with the loss of two crew members, Christopher Chadd and Nigel Cumming. The bow of Morning Cloud 3 has been retrieved and restored and is being loaned to Arundells as a memorial. It will be sited in Arundells’ garden and unveiled in a ceremony in May.
Sir Edward’s collection of yachting memorabilia is on display in the house including seascapes, trophies and pictures and models of the Morning Cloud boats which he raced competitively from 1969 until 1986.
Art, Music and Politics
The house features a unique mix of political, sailing and musical artefacts and memorabilia reflecting his achievements as a statesman, musician and art collector, including:
Wilf Weeks, Chairman of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation, commented: ‘Eighteen months ago it seemed that we might have to close the house. Last year we stabilised our finances and obtained planning permission to keep the house open permanently. Whilst keeping Arundells largely as it was when Sir Edward lived here, this year we are moving to a new stage and are aiming more fully to realise the potential of the house by opening a new
exhibition space, staging two exhibitions, inaugurating an annual lecture series and beginning to develop our work with schools.’
Arundells re-opens on 23rd March and is open for guided tours Saturday to Wednesday until 4th November. Booking is recommended (www.arundells.org). Non-guided tours are available on Bank Holiday Sundays and Mondays during the season. Admission, house and garden Gift
Aid £10, Garden only £2.50.Wheelchair access ground floor only. Ticket information 01722 326546, email@example.com