Historic Houses launches Small Projects Grant Scheme

Art and architecture History and research

Our member places are home to a wealth of stories waiting to be told. But too often day-to-day financial pressures divert resources away from the exploration of archives or curation of collections, and public funding for those activities can be hard to come by.


Warner Textile Archive fabric


This year, Historic Houses has launched its Small Projects Grant Scheme, directly funding projects at member places for the first time. We want to catalyse work that might not happen without our help, or activity that unlocks the possibility of further, future projects.

We invited applications for non-capital works – research, collections and archive management, and educational programmes. We sought out projects that would lasting no more than twelve months, with a clear public benefit and a legacy to leave beyond their completion. We were able to make awards of up to £5,000, matching up to 50% of an applicant’s total costs.

Prioritising public benefit, value for money, and knowledge sharing, our independent grant assessors – Alice Purkiss of Oxford University and Oli Cox of the V&A – chose four inaugural recipients of the 2024/5 awards from a pool of more than thirty applicants.


Camden Place


In November 2023, Chislehurst Golf Club was made the astonishing offer of a largely unseen collection private collection of material relating to France’s Second Empire – headed by Napoleon III, who lived his later years in exile at Camden Place, today the club’s home.

The collection comprises artefacts such as busts and medallions, as well as documents, including letters and photographs. The donor is keen that the items are made accessible to a wider audience – to which the digitisation of the paper-based materials will make a huge contribution.


Harvington Hall


The records at Harvington Hall represent more than a century of collecting, and have the potential to throw new light on the conservation, restoration, and management of an Elizabethan house with enormous significance for the story of Catholics in Elizabethan England. The archives include a wealth of pictures by the Victorian photographer Benjamin Stone.

Conserving the archive so it will be safe for the future, and bringing parts of it into public view and providing interpretation, will allow the team at Harvington Hall to draw more parallels between the use of the building to shelter priests from persecution in the sixteenth century and modern issues such as childhood, poverty, and religious oppression in today’s world.





This house and estate in the Brecon Beacons won our inaugural Sustainability Award in 2022, as a trailblazer for intergenerational nature recovery, bringing together communities and educational work with land management and farming practices.

The Hogg family are now setting out to create a ‘Land Library’, inspired by an example in the Rocky Mountains, that will connect people to nature through books, and vice versa. The library will be a physical space (in Penpont’s listed stables), shaped by young people, and will host a young writer- or artist-in-residence.


Chawton House

This Elizabeth house and globally important library of women’s literature has been conducting a review of its collection since 2020. ‘We did not know what we had,’ they say. ‘New discoveries were made in unexplored cupboards and undocumented collections items recovered. Only a tiny proportion of this is included in the current visitor route.’

To get these finds on display onsite and online ahead of Jane Austen’s 250th birthday, next year, requires work to meet collections care standards, including better regulation of temperature, humidity and light levels in the Exhibition and Oak Rooms.

The Trust is also working with fellow Historic Houses member place Pencarrow House in Cornwall, to tell the story of fashionable Victorian hostess Lady Andalusia Molesworth, whose social gatherings redirected political careers and included literati such as Dickens, Macaulay, and Thackeray, and whose complete set of Austen novels was acquired for Chawton in 2021.


Chawton House in Alton, Hampshire

Chawton House

Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 1SJ

Harvington Hall

Harvington Hall

Harvington Lane, Harvington, Near Kidderminster, Worcestershire, DY10 4LR


Camden Place

Camden Park Road, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 5HJ

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