Norman Plastow, probably Wimbledon’s most prominent heritage conservationist, is to be honoured by a change of identity for the new art exhibition gallery in Wimbledon Village.
The Village Hall Trust Gallery in Lingfield Road will be renamed the Norman Plastow Gallery and an exhibition presenting his remarkable career in local conservation will be held there between 6 and 16 March, organised jointly by the Village Hall Trust and the Wimbledon Society.
Wimbledon-born and a lifelong resident, Norman Plastow has been president of the Wimbledon Society since 1998 and earlier served twice as chairman from 1975-83 and 1986-94. Over many years he also chaired both the Village Hall Trust itself and the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators, and personally masterminded the restoration and establishment of the Wimbledon Windmill Museum.
A professional architect, he is also a craftsman, campaigner, fund-raiser, designer, writer, archaeologist, curator, historian and story-teller. His contribution to the preservation and enhancement of Wimbledon’s heritage since the early 1970s is unparalleled.
Through the Wimbledon Society, formerly known as the John Evelyn Society, he has led multiple campaigns for an improved town centre, a replacement for the Civic Hall which was demolished when Centre Court was built, more conservation areas, and the most appropriate use of Cannizaro House, now a hotel but once promised as a cultural centre by Merton Council. His popular books have included Safe as Houses, a detailed study of the bombing of Wimbledon during World War 2, and A History of Wimbledon and Putney Commons.
The renamed Norman Plastow Gallery
The Village Hall Trust Gallery opened on 4 February 2012 with Town and Country Wimbledon, part of the Museum of Wimbledon’s collection of historic water-colours, as its first exhibition.
It ran until the spring of that year. Since then a series of exhibitions by local artists and others have filled the gallery, followed by Now and Then, the exhibition of contrasting historic and present day photographs, showing since December.
Future events arranged by the Museum of Wimbledon and currently scheduled for the renamed Norman Plastow Gallery will include a Merton Priory exhibition starting in July. The exhibition dedicated to Norman Plastow’s activities will cover a wide range.
It will be open to the public from 11.30-2.30 on 6, 11 and 13 March and from 2.30-5.00 on the weekends of 8, 9, 15 and 16 during the opening hours of the Museum of Wimbledon, with access via the Museum’s Perry Room. A special launch for invited guests will be held 7 March from 6.30pm.