The Horniman has embarked on a project of major improvements to its gardens, to enhance their appearance for visitors and to extend its education services. For more than 100 years the Horniman has carried out the vision of Frederick Horniman, its founder, who intended that the museum and gardens should work in conjunction, to provide a major cultural and recreational amenity. In the immediate neighbourhood of Dulwich they actively compliment in this respect the combined effect of the Dulwich Picture Gallery and gardens, and indeed that of Dulwich Park. The Horniman imparts a warmly welcoming atmosphere to local residents and to visitors from further afield, and has done so especially for several generations of children. It now attracts an astonishing million and a half visitors each year.
This year the Horniman has secured further Heritage Lottery funding of £1million for its new plans, against all odds in these hard times, with the Olympic Games and other pressing calls on public resources providing stiff competition. This is largely because the Horniman has been able triumphantly to “tick all the boxes” in presenting its social and community support case to the Lottery Fund, without the need to engage expensive outside professional advice to make its public relations case. The Horniman is also well on its way towards securing all-important ‘matching funding’ for the other half. So far this has come primarily from major charitable and personal contributions, including an especially generous £250,000 from the Sainsbury Foundation. Together, these donations already enable it to go ahead with the project.
The remaining aim is to attract the local community to close the final gap, which is now around £250,000. It seems entirely appropriate that from Dulwich, which even in these austere times may be a less financially stretched catchment area than Forest Hill, we should feel able as a community to contribute in the region of £25,000 towards this target.
It is the Dulwich Society’s role to act as a catalyst for local projects which we believe will enhance the amenity of this area, and as a Society we have decided to contribute £1000 towards the Horniman’s target. We hope that this report will also encourage our members to contribute individually to support this project, as generously as they feel able.