News Festive Update from Director, Peter Pearce Works continue apace in the house and at Place Farm to ready us for regular public access from next summer. The current phase of work in the house is all designed to improve the safety, comfort and enjoyment of visitors and to enable the house to come back to life, as well as helping to protect it. Works include heating, lighting, small power, fire detection and suppression, fire escapes and the removal of residual traces of asbestos from Lord Crewe's time, mainly in the roof space. Visitors to the house during the craft fair will currently see propping to the oldest and most interesting ceiling in the house, in the Geraldine Room which dates from 1547. The propping is precautionary as inspection by our architects has revealed some recent signs of structural weakness, and parts of the ceiling will need to be carefully pinned back to its supporting timbers. At Place Farm Barn, multiple layers of sound proofing have been installed to a strengthened roof structure to take their weight to allow its future use for events, community use and learning activities, and the interior is currently being painted before the scaffold is removed and the next phase of work can start to the floors and their underfloor heating. Outside, the unsightly concrete from the old recycled waste paper works site has been pulled up, crushed and relaid to create the foundations of a new landscaped car park for visitors. Work started on the adjoining field car parking to create the bunds to improve screening from our neighbours and proceeded well until the weather turned; we will now wait for drier and warmer weather in the spring to complete drainage, re-soiling and re-seeding. The result, next summer, will be a group of mellow brick and tile farm buildings looking out over meadows, the previous light industrial uses and their scars all gone, and everything ready for the new chapter in West Horsley Place's existence. The past two weeks has seen the creation of a huge temporary covered space in front of the house, erected despite the inclement weather, for the Craft and Design Fair, the Christmas craft fair which was previously at RHS Garden Wisley. We are delighted to host it here; the quality displayed by the many craft exhibitors aligns perfectly with Bamber and Christina Gascoigne's vision of a creative crafts and arts future for West Horsley Place. Visit the dedicated Horsley & Surrey Hills Craftmakers and Artists area– and come to see our own stand there (CO2), where tickets for house tours and Christmas goodies can be purchased, all helping to raise vital funds for restoration works to the Manor House and estate.