In 1997 the Hearsum Family were granted a long lease on Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park (London’s largest Grade I listed space), which had been largely derelict for 25 years and was in a very sad state. The research to inform the restoration works revealed that the Park had a unique and fascinating heritage, but also that the material was scattered across many locations.
So in 1997 Daniel Hearsum began bringing the heritage material back to the park and has continued to do so ever since.
As one of the final phases of the restoration, in 2007 we partnered with The Royal Parks and The Friends of Richmond Park to open a small visitor information point to see if people wished to learn more, with a very positive response.
In 2009 we partnered again with the Friends to sort and catalogue the collection. Their wonderful volunteers have worked hard to good effect and the Richmond Park collection is now catalogued on a professional museum database.
In 2012 we partnered with The Royal Parks Guild to organise very popular displays for HM the Queen’s visit to the Park and these interpretation boards from the event are now mounted at the entrance to Pembroke Lodge.
During these activities it became clear that many people were genuinely interested in the heritage of the Park and so plans were begun for a dedicated heritage centre to secure the Collection long term. In 2013, The Hearsum Collection was registered as a charity with the Charity Commission, with trustees drawn from the major local amenity groups.
The charity mounted its first exhibition, Richmond Park and the First World War, in 2014.
During the course of a month in summer 2015, more than 14,000 people visited the pop-up pavilion, exhibition and events that formed our Heritage Lottery-funded “Deer in the City” project.
In 2017 The Hearsum Collection collaborated with The Royal Parks and the Republic of Ireland’s Office of Public Works to create the major exhibition “Parks: Our Shared Heritage”. This ran at Farmleigh, Dublin and The Mall Galleries London. It attracted more than 15,000 visitors including The Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra.