“We started the petition which we went all around with boards, and captured people in the streets and knocked on doors to save it.”
Built around 1500, Whitehall is a landmark at the heart of Cheam Village Conservation Area. Its original use is still debated; it is thought that Cheam school originated there and, according to local legend, Queen Elizabeth I once held a council meeting on the site. Between 1741 and 1963 it was home to the Killick family, and was eventually purchased by the London Borough of Sutton. It ran as an art centre in the late 1960s, yet it was apparent that the building was in need of significant repairs.
In the mid-1970s, a group of Cheam locals gathered and passionately campaigned to repurpose the iconic building. The great response to their petition led to the formation of the Friends of Whitehall, and, following a major restoration project, Whitehall opened its doors as a museum on the 17th of June 1978.
© Sophia Marion Patel