A chariot once used by the glamorous and wealthy Rothschild family is to be restored as part of the wider conservation and development project at Gunnersbury Park.
The Leche Trust has given a grant of £2,500 for the work on the Rothschild Town Chariot, which was always the star attraction for visitors at Gunnersbury Museum before its temporary closure – and it will become the centrepiece of the new custom-built carriage display building that is due to open in Gunnersbury Park this autumn.
Painted in the family colours and featuring the Rothschild coat of arms, the chariot would seat two passengers in its blue silk and lace interior and would have been used by the family for ceremonial, business and important social events. It was built by Stamper and Sons of Wandsworth in the 1830s or 1840s, and was left in the stables when the estate was passed to the public.
Other items that will go on show alongside the Town Chariot are a Pony Phaeton, a Hansom Cab, a Werner Motorized Bicycle and a Penny Farthing.
Howard Simmons, chairman of the Gunnersbury Museum and Park Development Trust, said: “The Town Chariot is of great importance not only for its historic value and aesthetic beauty but also its physical connection to Gunnersbury’s past. Thanks to the Leche Trust we are able to conserve it for future generations.”
The conservation of the chariot and the carriage display building is part of a restoration project being undertaken by a partnership of Ealing and Hounslow councils, the Gunnersbury Museum and Park Development Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is also being supported by a number of other charitable organisations.