The Historic Almshouses at Kirkleatham is to open their doors to amateur photographers this weekend. In response to a steady stream of requests since the priceless stained glass window was restored at the beginning of the year, the trustees have decided to offer ‘open house’ to photographers on Saturday and Sunday 28/29 July.
“We have been waiting since the spring for a few days when the weather will be bright enough to show off the windows to best advantage,” said Peter Sotheran, chairman of the trustees. “Since the nights are starting to draw in again, it’s really now or never!”
The recently restored 18th century moulded plaster ceiling will be specially floodlight and the recently restored and freshly gilded wrought railings are now back in place. The chapel at the centre of the almshouses contains a number of other historic items relating to Sir William Turner. An illustrated history of the almshouse will run throughout the day.
The trustees are three-quarters of the way through a £238k programme to restore the external features of the Grade-1 listed building. “We have only some paving and a pair sun dials to replace then we will have light at the end of the tunnel,” added Sotheran.
The work has been funded by grants from the Paul Getty and the Wolfson Foundations in London, Pizza Express and the Tees Valley Community Foundation and scores of individual personal donations. The almshouses do not qualify for any help from national heritage or lottery sources.
The chapel will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10.00am to 4.00pm with a break at lunch time 12.30pm-1.30pm. admission is free and photographers and visitors are invited to donate to the restoration work.