Monday, January 21, 2013

Wrangling over Edward Heath's house

In June 2010 I reported that Edward Heath's home ("one of Britain's more unlikely tourist attractions") was to be sold at the end of the year.

It turns out that things were not that straightforward. A report on the Third Sector website today reports that the former Conservative Robert Key has resigned as a trustee of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation. He says that a new proposal to raise money for its restoration has "thwarted" the board's intentions:
"The house should be sold and the money spent on young people, not on old buildings," he told Third Sector. "We have consulted everyone, including English Heritage, and all the advice is that Arundells will never be financially viable. The commission told us it would have to consider the new plan and that will mean a delay of about two years so I think the will of the trustees has been thwarted."
Third Sector also reports the views of the remaining trustees and of The Friends of Arundells, "a grass-roots campaign group that wants the building to stay open to the public".

Meanwhile, a mystery remains. How did someone from a humble background, who made his career in an era when MPs were less generously paid than they are today, end up owning a large house in the Cathedral Close at Salisbury?


Allen Hurst said...

I'd always wondered about Heath's house. He also had a flat in the Albany. Even in pre-property boom England that would have been hugely expensive.

Richard Gadsden said...

Don't forget that he spent a fortune on Morning Cloud as well.

It seems that the answer about his money is that as Leader of the Opposition in the late sixties and as ex-Prime Minister in the seventies he received large amounts of money from businessmen. For which, as one biographer put it "he was never beset by the sin of gratitude" (ie, they never got anything in return)

Paul W said...

Philip Zeigler's biography of Heath says that he made £100k a year from lecturing during the 1980s and 1990s,

Heath was accused of sneakily exploiting an oversight by the Cathedral to acquire the freehold of Arundells.