On Saturday 18th June 1978 Whitehall Museum opened to the public for the first time and our object of the month is a celebration of our 38th anniversary.
© Local Studies and Archives, London Borough of Sutton
Built around 1500, Whitehall had been a private residence until it was bought by the London Borough of Sutton and Cheam in 1963 from descendants of the Killick family. Our object of the month is a black and white photograph taken 15 years later: it shows eager visitors queuing around the block to have a look inside the Grade II* listed Tudor building. Whitehall’s historic interiors, as well as its garden, had been restored and redisplayed as a public museum and this was the first time that many had stepped through its doors.
On this date in 1978 the ribbon across the front door was cut by councillor Marjorie Grimes, the Chair of Sutton’s Leisure & Recreation Committee, accompanied by the borough’s librarian Roy Smith, who was instrumental in getting Whitehall opened as a visitor attraction. With the continuing support and activities of the Friends of Whitehall, a charity which formed at the same time, Whitehall has welcomed thousands of visitors of all ages since it first opened.
Whitehall Historic House, as it is now known, is currently closed for a major refurbishment project and we are developing a number of exciting projects to celebrate Whitehall when we reopen in 2017. 2018 will be the 40th anniversary of the original opening of the building and we are establishing a local history network and initiating a reminiscence project called ‘The Locals’, which focuses on the Friends of Whitehall and their achievements.
We hope you will join us in celebrating this important milestone, as well as this unique building of local and national significance, and if you would like any information relating to our project please contact us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org/ 0208 770 5670
This photograph, along with several others taken at the opening of Whitehall, is part of a small free display currently on at Cheam Library (Church Rd, Sutton SM3 8QH).