Located on the border between Wandsworth and Lambeth, 575 Wandsworth Road is the perfect choice for this quarter’s Organisations in action feature.
575 Wandsworth Road is a place of inspiration; a carved interior of a regular London townhouse by Kenyan-born poet, novelist, philosopher of mathematics and British civil servant, Khadambi Asalache. 575 Wandsworth Road was acquired by the National Trust in 2010 and has been open to the public since 2013. The National Trust’s purpose is to preserve places of culture and heritage for everyone.
This hidden gem of the National Trust pushes boundaries of what’s normally expected when arriving at one of their sites (in more ways than one!). Will, from the Link UP team, had the pleasure of being able to attend one of their workshops that looked at ways of generating learning-based workshops for people of all ages. The tireless work of site manager Laura has always looked to open up the space for the enjoyment of everybody, and it is this very purpose that drove Laura to get in contact with Link UP London in the first instance.
575 Wandsworth Road also had a beautiful garden, which Khadambi Asalache created in the same spirit as the house – complete with carved fretwork frames for climbing plants. The National Trust had long hoped to restore the garden and bring back its original character as an external garden room, and in 2017 Laura brought together a small but dedicated team of specialists to make this vision a reality.
Working with Link UP, Laura found a volunteer project coordinator to oversee the planning and implementation of work this year which includes making the garden accessible for visitors in the future. Interestingly, at the time of advertising this was the most popular and sought-after volunteering opportunity offered through Link UP, with many volunteers seeking to support this wonderful space. The post was even getting applicants after it had been filled, as hopeful volunteers waited to see if there could be other ways to work with Laura and 575 Wandsworth Road. Currently supported by Link UP Volunteer Gareth, the end of the summer should see the planting scheme completed, with discussions beginning on the reinstatement of the fretwork. 575 Wandsworth Road is now in the process of developing their second project with a Link UP Volunteer.
“Link UP has been so helpful in helping us to make our vision in restoring the garden to reflect the spirit and creativity of Khadambi Asalache a reality. Our volunteer Gareth has been such a great asset to the project, bringing his organisational and communication skills to ensure our team met regularly, were kept updated and the project kept a good momentum. This year, we have managed to complete a number of landscaping and building works with Gareth’s support, and we are excited to begin the final the fretwork and open the garden so that visitors can fully experience this extraordinary home and work of art”
For those looking for a great day out and to experience something different but truly representative of London’s multicultural past, present and future you’re all encouraged to head down to 575 Wandsworth Road. Tickets for September to November will be on sale on the website from 1st August as they are now fully booked for the Summer!