Lamb House, once home of Henry James, EF Benson and other literary figures, at the top of West Street in Rye, is about to experience major change following the end of the latest tenancy. The National Trust, which owns the property, has decided to take it back “in hand”, according to a recent letter from Hester Liakos, General Manager of Sissinghurst Place, who also has overall responsibility for Lamb House. This letter was sent to the volunteers who have helped with the opening of the property over the years, to explain what the future will be.
Recent feedback from the online travel review site Trip Advisor, and from talking to visitors, expressed disappointment about the limited opening hours and only three rooms on the ground floor available to show. The Trust is hoping to change all this, as no one will be living in the house next year. It will not be replacing the tenants.
To let everyone know what is happening, there will be an informal “drop in” open day on February 22 2018, for all volunteers and the local community, from 11am until 4pm. Hester Liakos will be joined by curator Jerzy Kierkuc-Bielinski, house steward Susannah Mayor and one of the garden team, to answer questions as well as gather feedback from people attending. They will be sharing the “thinking, research and work so far” on plans to present the house and garden. This includes a full historic building survey and other work from audience experts. All of this will be completed in the New Year, with a confirmed re-opening date of June, 2018.
Almost 13,000 visitors were welcomed to the property this last season, and it is plain that the Trust is anxious to build on these visitor numbers with new ideas and initiatives.
Photo: Gillian Roder