Bloomsbury Group’s Charleston Trust Must Raise £400k To Survive




An emergency appeal has been launched by the Charleston Trust, the keepers of the Bloomsbury Group’s country retreat Charleston. The Trust is looking to raise £400,000 for staffing, upkeep and essential repairs, resulting from loss of funds due to the COVID19 crisis. This is money which would usually be raised by admission fees to the house and garden.

Charleston was the rural retreat of the Bloomsbury Group painters

who included Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry, and Duncan Grant. It was at its peak during the First World War harbouring a bohemian community which included Virginia Woolf, Maynard Keynes, Lytton Strachey, E M Forster and T.S. Eliot. 

The closure of Charleston due to the COVID-19 pandemic, together with the cancellation of Charleston Festival, is financially devastating for the organisation.  

In a statement released on the Charleston website, Charleston is a charity which receives no public funding. We value our independence, but we are also painfully aware of how exposed we are. It costs over £1m a year to conserve the house and garden, to give a platform to meaningful conversations, art and ideas through our festivals, events and exhibition programmes, and to open and share Charleston with our visitors.

Bloomsbury Group's Charleston

Bloomsbury Group’s Charleston Farmhouse

Every penny we need to do this, we have to raise ourselves through ticket sales, through spend in our shops and café, and other fundraising activities. And that’s stopped – overnight. 

We are making full use of the government’s schemes to support some staff and running costs, but without any income from ticket sales and spend around our site we are left with a considerable shortfall that threatens our future.

We know these are challenging times for many people, but Charleston needs your help now more than ever.

Please, if you can, make a donation to support Charleston. We are enormously grateful for whatever you can afford to give. 

The Bloomsbury group included some of the twentieth century’s most pioneering artists, writers and thinkers – people who believed in debate, creativity, beauty, innovation and truth and whose work was guided by a sense of fun, freedom and irreverence. At Charleston, we aim to further the Bloomsbury group’s experimentalism, internationalism and anti-establishment approach, their new ideas for living and belief that the arts and freedom of expression are fundamental.

A visit to Charleston is a liberating experience. The presence of Charleston’s Bloomsbury group occupants is still palpable today, as is their art, and the ideas that, from the rural tranquillity of the South Downs, helped to shape our society.

The decorated interiors and artists’ garden are more than a museum. Charleston’s entire cultural programme remains true to its origins while encouraging contemporary creativity.

We offer a haven for curious minds to immerse themselves in new ideas and provide an open with the door to explore personal freedoms and engage in Charleston’s multi-faceted heritage. Our world-leading collection of Bloomsbury art and archives is a beacon of excellence in conservation and interpretation that is open to everyone. Today Charleston is both daring and accessible.

Our talented staff and volunteers use their creativity and experience to make Charleston a living experience for all. We support community learning and engagement; we commission contemporary artists, writers and thinkers to share new ideas in the spirit of Charleston’s Bloomsbury group inhabitants; and we aim to provide a life-enhancing environment for debate, creativity and excitement.

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