Cumberland Lodge launches archive exhibition for 75th anniversary

To celebrate our 75th anniversary this year, we have opened an exhibition which offers visitors an insight into our history and work.

Chief Executive Dr Ed Newell adds a photo of the Queen to the exhibition cabinet

To celebrate our 75th anniversary this year, we have opened an exhibition which offers visitors an insight into our history and work. 

The exhibition was launched at an event on Monday 10 January, and includes letters, photographs, books, programmes, and papers. It has three main themes.

The first, Darkness over Germany, introduces the work of Amy Buller, whose book led to the establishment of an educational foundation at the Lodge in 1947. Amy Buller was granted use of the 17th century former royal residence by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

In Cumberland Lodge at 75, the early years of the charity are documented, along with photographs and letters relating to both students and well-known visitors we have hosted over the years. Visitors featured in the display include Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Margaret Thatcher, the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

A selection of conference programmes from the 80s and 90s show we have been facilitating discussions on topical issues such as climate change, the NHS, policing and the EU across the decades. These are displayed alongside Cumberland Lodge Reports from the last 10 years as we continue to be a place where people of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives can meet to address the complex challenges facing society.

Finally, Patrons celebrates our past and present royal patrons: Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and Her Majesty the Queen. It features letters and photographs from visits made to the Lodge, including images of the Queen celebrating our 50th anniversary with us in 1997.

A further display relating to the history of the building includes a visitors’ book signed by Sir Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine, and by the inventor of radio Guglielmo Marconi, among other notable and distinguished guests.

The exhibition contains just a selection of items from the Lodge archive, which covers the period from 1650 to the present. Work to reorder the archive began early last year and has been carried out by a small team of volunteers. We are now exploring funding options which will help us complete the process of re-cataloging the archive, part of which is kept at Senate House at the University of London.

At the launch event, Lord Anderson of Ipswich KBE QC, a Visiting Fellow and a Patron of the Friends of Cumberland Lodge, unveiled a plaque to commemorate the occasion and the archive project. It was the first in a series of events we hope to hold this year to mark our anniversary.

Dr Ed Newell, Chief Executive of Cumberland Lodge, said:

“Our archive at Cumberland Lodge offers a window into the history of the charity, but also into the history of ideas, as it shows how thinking on important issues such as climate change, diversity and inclusion, and policing and criminal justice, has developed over generations. 

“Re-ordering the archive and improving access to our collection will help to ensure that the vision that shaped our foundation in the past continues to influence our work in the future, and I am hugely grateful to our team of volunteers who have made much of this possible.”

The exhibition is on show to guests attending events at the Lodge, and we hope to host open mornings for the public later in the year.