Pope’s Grotto is a building of outstanding historical importance. Built as a gateway to his famous garden, it is the only surviving relic of Pope’s life and acts as a material reminder of English culture, literature and garden design of the Age of Enlightenment.
We are about to begin our restoration of Alexander Pope’s Grade 2* listed Grotto. The grotto is in a state of disrepair and currently resides on the ‘Heritage At Risk’ register. The unusual stones and minerals, collected by Pope, are smothered under centuries of dust and dirt and many are obscured from view by the unsympathetic lighting installed decades ago.
In conjunction with the Pope’s Grotto Preservation Trust, we have secured development funding from English Heritage, and the Heritage Lottery Fund have agreed to our applying for an ‘Our Heritage’ grant alongside applications for a number of other grants. However, we will need to demonstrate match funding to secure these grants and so shall shortly be embarking on a number of fundraising schemes.
Its restoration will not only inspire Pope scholars but will reintroduce Alexander Pope, the poet and advocate of the naturalistic garden, to a new audience at the school, in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames and in the wider world.
Once restored the Grotto will be open to visitors on a more frequent basis, outside normal school hours.