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Ted Heath's house should be kept open for the nation

Screen shot 2010-02-26 at 14.32.31

Screen shot 2010-02-26 at 14.31.55 The Salisbury Journal is reporting that the house of former Conservative Prime Minister, Ted Heath, is to be sold. The beautiful house in Salisbury Cathedral Close, Arundells, was left to a charitable trust and in recent years it has been open to the public. The Journal reports, however, that the coming year is likely to be the final year in which that is affordable:

"Sir Edward, who died in July 2005, left his £5million estate to a charitable foundation which included opening his home for the education of the public... But the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation say that the costs of opening, running and maintaining the house and garden far outweigh the revenue raised from visitors. The Foundation has no other sources of income and says it does not have sufficient resources to keep Arundells, which was Sir Edward’s home for the last 20 years of his life, open indefinitely. Today, the trustees released a statement saying that they had come to the conclusion that the Foundation could never be viable on the income of visitors alone... If the Charity Commission gives its permission, they plan to sell Arundells so it can be reverted to residential use and the proceeds of the sale will go to other charitable purposes provided for in Sir Edward’s will. This would include musical and other education charities in which he had a strong interest."

I feel quite disappointed at this news. Ted Heath, in taking Britain into the Common Market (as it was then), was an incredibly consequential Prime Minister. It's regrettable that his house cannot stay open for schoolchildren and others to visit and learn more about his own life and the life of a British Prime Minister. And I write this as someone who believes Heath's legacy was as negative as it was consequential. In America they could find the money to keep such a senior politician's house open. Why can't we? If I didn't think they would fill it with propaganda I'd even support the EU paying to keep it open!

Screen shot 2010-02-26 at 14.39.07 Click here for information about visiting the house before it closes at the end of 2010.

Tim Montgomerie


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