LATEST NEWS – 30 JULY 2020
 
Update on the Removal of Access Privilege for Friends of Osborne

The trustees and committee are continuing to lobby English Heritage in an attempt to reinstate the access privilege that we have enjoyed since our inception.  It has become clear that local management have no authority over this matter or much else, and no clear understanding of the wider ramifications of this edict, and so we have escalated our appeal to the CEO and Chair of the English Heritage Trust.

While these negotiations continue, all membership payments and renewals will be frozen for twelve months from August 1st.  If we are successful in reversing their decision, all memberships will continue without further subscriptions required, until August 2021.

Also, many of you may have heard an Isle of Wight Radio interview last week on this issue when our secretary had to correct statements made by EH regarding our donations and funding of projects.  We have waited for over twelve months, and continue to wait, for an invoice from EH for the repair work to the weather vane that we committed to fund and we have waited even longer for a list of projects or acquisitions that Osborne would wish us to fund.  Our raison d’ être is to support Osborne in this way and we will be asking English Heritage to support us in return with the reinstatement of our access.

We will continue to update you once we have a response from English Heritage, and also with the next steps should our request be turned down.  Please follow our Facebook page and our website and continue to forward any queries to our secretary at mtee45@hotmail.co.uk

Best Wishes
Rob Flower
Chair of Friends of Osborne Trustees
 

20 JULY 2020

You will be aware that Covid-19 has had a devastating impact upon many industries including the heritage/attraction industry.  English Heritage closed many sites including Osborne back in March and have not yet been able to reopen in any way that resembles the norm.  As a consequence, EH is looking at a major shortfall, measured in millions, to their income and has been looking at ways to maximise income from their properties at a time when safe access requires reduced, timed and pre-booked admission.

Unfortunately, one of the steps taken, is the removal of the privilege of free admission to the Friends of Osborne.  Instead, EH would like our members to pay admission as applicable at the gate or to take out EH membership which can range from £55 per annum upwards, depending on the type of membership purchased. Although they have offered a 20% discount to us but only if joining by annual direct debit and this must be done on site after showing your Friends membership card.

The trustees have spent the last few weeks trying to negotiate with EH and argued the many benefits and highlighted the financial contributions that the Friends have brought to Osborne over the years since our inception under their first chairman, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu in the mid-eighties.   Disappointingly, we have been unsuccessful and EH remain adamant that only paid admissions or holders of their membership are welcome now.

This of course raises the issue of our own existence, for without the free access to Osborne, there is very little benefit from your membership subscription, other than the opportunity to enjoy fund-raising social events organised by our Committee.  But for the foreseeable future, any social events will have to take place elsewhere as Osborne is not yet able to hold events of any description on site.

The changes to admission at Osborne will commence from August 1st and all our members will be expected to pay or become English Heritage members to gain access from that date onwards.

Under normal circumstances it would be appropriate to call an Extraordinary General Meeting for the members to express their views and to hear what options we may have as an ongoing charity. However as large gatherings are currently prohibited, the trustees will continue to discuss the issues and revert to the members over the coming weeks with a number of options.  Meanwhile, if any members wish to forward comments to the trustees, our secretary will receive these at mtee45@hotmail.co.uk 

Best wishes

Rob Flower
Chair of Friends of Osborne Trustees 

26 June 2020

The grounds of Osborne House are reopening to the public from 4 July 2020.  Friends of Osborne members wishing to visit should use the English Heritage website to book admission tickets.  This can be done by using the link https://englishheritage.seetickets.com/timeslot/osborne to select a date and time slot and then following the Member and Corporate Admission tab (select Corporate Member Admission).  Please remember to take your Friends membership card with you when you visit.  You may also find the FAQ page on the English Heritage site useful  https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/reopening-ticket-faqs/

All planned Friends events to be held at Osborne have had to be cancelled for the foreseeable future.  However, we are actively looking at the possibility of organising fundraising events offsite and will inform members as and when further details are available.

Welcome Friends of Osborne

Welcome to our website.  The Friends of Osborne undertake an annual programme of fundraising events which are open to both members and their guests. We aim to encourage interest in Osborne House, its history, buildings, contents, grounds and gardens’

The money raised by the Friends of Osborne is used to support English Heritageʼs commitment to maintain Osborne House for the Nation. In 2015 the Friends became a registered charity.  Since 1987 the Friends and its predecessor organisation have helped English Heritage with many renovation projects to the House and grounds as well as for educational projects.  

One of our more recent contributions has been towards the renovation of the Andromeda Fountain on the lower terrace.  The fountain fell into disrepair many years ago and the Terrace was closed to the public.  With the assistance of a donation from the Friends the fountain has been beautifully restored to full working order and members were invited to a private viewing in July 2017.  The Terrace and the Andromeda Fountain, which forms its centrepiece, is once again open to the public.

We are very proud and honoured that, following the filming of ‘Victoria and Abdulʼ at Osborne House in Autumn 2016, Dame Judi Dench agreed to be the first Patron of the Friends of Osborne.

New members are welcomed at any time and details of the benefits of being a member and how to join can be found on this website. Additionally, we are always looking for volunteers to support our charity.

Friends of Osborne Members' Events Diary

Due to current and ongoing restrictions there will be no events of any description at Osborne in the foreseeable future.

Events
  • No Events