Little did we realise on Sunday 7th June 2015, at the first AGM of the Friends of the Mausoleum, that 3 years later we would have raised more than our target of £6000 to have an electricity supply to the building, to have made 1600 Christmas cards, had sell -out events and be invited to give a presentation at a Churches Conservation Trust conference.
So, how did we get here?
The first committee of 8 was formed and what a team we have become. We came together through our mutual love of a building, its story and its history- personal, political and social. Each of us brings different backgrounds, skills and talents to the team. The word “synergy” fits us perfectly – “what we produce is far greater than the sum of the parts”.
What is our aim?
To bring the mausoleum back to life; to bring it back into use by the people of the parish and wider community. This impressive and unique building was built to honour a beloved wife and be the parish church – at the heart of the community. It won’t be a parish church again, but it can, once again, be at the heart of the community.
Do the community want this?
At a recent open meeting held in the building with the Churches Conservation Trust architect, the question was asked “ why the building could not be left as it is, to preserve for future generations”. The clear response, was that would require a hermetically sealed glass dome – not feasible and not what the Churches Conservation Trust is about. We will have to balance the structural needs of the building with its possible uses. If the building is to exist for future generations it will have to be used. If it is not used it will fall into decay and be lost.
We had already looked at how it could be used, consulted the Friends, members and supporters and the local people. We submitted a sheet of ideas, a vision for the future, plus suggestions for the sympathetic adaptation of part of the building to meet modern needs – a kitchen, toilets and improved accessibility.
How have we got where we are?
Through hard work, goodwill and very generous support.
We have had tasty tea parties and tantalising talks; long lunches and exceptional events.
These have been mainly musical –
- From Greensleeves through Vivaldi, Gershwin and Vera Lynn, rock and pop and musical theatre to “that song from Frozen” – we cater for all tastes.
- Played on medieval pipes and drums, the harp, the violin, the ukulele and classical and acoustic guitar.
- Sung by soloists, barber’s shop quartets, choirs and our audiences.
The Churches Conservation Trust currently cares for over 350 churches and we were chosen to host one of 50 prestigious events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Trust in 2019.
The Churches Conservation Trust believe in what the “Friends of the Mausoleum” are doing and support us at every turn. As we move into the next stage in the life of the Milton Mausoleum we look to taking the building from its past place in the community to a community place in the future.
Gillian Squire (Chair of the Friends).