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William Morris House building in Wimbledon to be disability-friendly
Campaigners are celebrating a £150,000 scheme to make William Morris House accessible for wheelchairs.
The upper ground floor of the late Victorian building, used as meeting rooms in the Broadway, will be converted, with a lift being installed.
Stairs up to the entrance will be replaced with a more gradual staircase and a disabled toilet will be installed on the ground floor.
The conversion also means the house, a community meeting place for more than 90 years, can display two historic stained glass windows designed by renowned Victorian artist Edward Burne-Jones at the William Morris works in Merton Abbey Mills.
Chairman of William Morris House Councillor Peter Walker said: “This project will mean the formidable Victorian steps into the house will no longer be a barrier to disabled people.
“It means our excellent facilities will be available to a large number of organisations who previously were not able to use our meeting rooms.”
The kitchen will be redecorated and expanded in the style of William Morris and a recently re-discovered photograph given to the house by Morris’s collaborator in the arts and craft movement, Sir Emery Walker, will be put up.
Wayne Busbridge, who is registered blind, has been calling for changes to the house he uses at least once a week. Mr Busbridge said: “It is a challenge to get up the steps – they are awful.
“The work means people with difficulties will be able to access the house properly for the first time.”
Work is being paid for by William Morris House and is due to be completed by the end of April.
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