Open House 2011
Over 1200 members of the general public visited both the Lower School at White Lodge, Richmond Park and the Upper School in Covent Garden, Floral Street as part of Open House on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September. Open House gives members of the general public the opportunity to appreciate the capital’s architecture free of charge.
White Lodge recorded 240 visitors on Saturday and 298 visitors on Sunday while the Upper School welcomed 737 people during the course of the day on Sunday with queues stretching far down Floral Street from morning to afternoon.
The Lower School showcased many of the historic rooms in the premises to the visitors including the Ballet Office which was HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s favourite room. They were also given a glimpse into the Nelson Room (where Admiral Lord Nelson reputedly mapped out the Battle of Trafalgar).
The Bridge of Aspiration was the architectural highlight for visitors to the Upper School. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the bridge boasts a twisting form of glass, timber and aluminum which people were able to admire from both inside and outside the building.
Visitors to Floral Street were also able to look close up at pointe shoes and tutus in The Royal Ballet School’s costume department and to learn about the day to day training of the resident students.
Both sites generated great interest from members of the public from both an architectural and cultural point of view.
Some visitors to White Lodge remarked the following: 'Beautiful house and gardens - also fascinating to learn something about ballet, an art form completely new to me!'
'Great to see a historic building very much alive, in full use, and working to satisfy 21st century needs - may it continue for generations to come!'
Picture: The morning queue at White Lodge, The Royal Ballet Lower School
Photo: Anna Fineman