In this interview Elizabeth tells us about her development work at Handel and Hendrix House and most recently her appointment as Director.
My Career Path:
My first career was as a Commissioning Editor in book publishing. After ten enjoyable years doing that, I stopped work for a while to bring up my two sons. Then, when they grew up, I went back to work for a second career in charity development and fundraising. I worked freelance for a number of small and medium-sized charities, mainly in the arts sector. About four and a half years ago I came to the Handel House Trust where I was the Development Manager until recently being appointed as the Director.
The Next 12 Months:
This will be a very exciting time at Handel House. It is obviously a new experience for me personally to have now taken over as the Director, and I have many plans to enrich the experience of the Handel rooms for our visitors, increasing the live music played here during opening hours – which is what really brings the house to life – improving the lighting to make it more atmospheric and in keeping with the 18th century, and introducing a new events programme.
We are also currently making plans to fulfil our mission by completing Handel’s home at 25 Brook Street. At the moment only the upper floors are on display to the public, but we are hoping to be able to repossess the ground floor and basement in around five years time, and to convert the house back to its original glory as it would have been when Handel lived here. There will be a new fundraising campaign to get underway and lots of planning work to do in order to make this vision a reality, but it will be wonderful to succeed.
What Museum Would You Like to be Locked in Overnight
Probably another small historic house, such as Dr Johnson’s House or Dickens House. They would be more homely and less spooky overnight than one of the big museums.
What is the most encouraging thing said
Lots of very kind supportive messages from Handel House supporters when I was appointed as Director.
A Highlight Object
The Thomas Hudson portrait of Handel that we have on display here (on loan from the Royal Collection) is not only a stunningly beautiful object in its own right but also provides a sense of the spirit of the great man presiding over his old home here. We hope he would have been pleased with the care we take of it.
What else would I have been?
When I was younger I wanted to be a writer or to work in the theatre. But I enjoy any job that offers variety, and the chance to get involved in interesting projects. The Handel House job fulfils both these things in spades, so I feel very lucky with how things have turned out.