Hallelujah Project – Interviews
We are supported by an excellent team with huge experience of working with historic buildings. Most of the design team has been working on the project since 2017.
Paul Chatham and Helena Tunbridge, Peregrine Bryant Architects
What are your roles on the Hallelujah Project (HP)?:
Paul: Director overseeing the project and the conservation input.
Helena: Project architect, overseeing the project on site.
What is different about the HP?:
Paul: We work on the whole spectrum of listed buildings. But the strength of the association with Handel is unique here; and the challenge of trying to recreate a place that he would recognise as his home.
Helena: Also, the very public nature of the project. This is a museum that people will visit, rather than a private house that only the owners see.
Has the project uncovered any surprises?:
Paul: We knew the building had been pulled around by Charles Duveen (who ran an arts and antiques store from 25 Brook street) and others from the historic research that we did. It’s lives a chequered life! But it’s pleasing to discover how intact the floor structures and staircases are. An interesting aspect of the project is the combination of the restoration of Handel’s house with the conservation of the whole building.
Helena: On that point, I am please that we’ve incorporated many of the later additions to the house, such as the 1790’s bowed extension, and even some of the 20th century steelwork. It’s all part of the story.
What impact will the project have:
Paul: Getting approval to fully reinstate the Georgian facade was a big win. It provides a strong street presence and is important for conservation. It’s pleasing that the completed museum will include an exhibition on the story of both buildings (Handel house and no 23 which contains the Hendrix flat) and how they were altered over time, then saved and restored. Many buildings around Mayfair have a similar story and this aspect, and their social history is worth explaining. The conservation of the 20th century shop into a museum is also, in a way, a response to changing priorities and the growing cultural scene in Westminster. It reflects the priorities of this moment.