There’s growing concern locally about the recent Ministry of Defence announcement of plans to sell Kneller Hall. The sale of the Hall in Whitton will form part of wider MoD property strategy to raise funds and plug funding gaps. It is sure to have developers rubbing their hands at the prospect of acquiring the listed building and its adjoining land. Kneller Hall is home to the Royal Military School of Music and has been home to Army bands since it was taken on by the War Office in 1857. The prospect of breaking that 150 year link and seeing the listed building pass into private ownership has met with strong opposition from local people, local councillors of both the blue and yellow persuasion and Twickenham MP Tania Mathias.

"Kneller Hall" by Jonathan Cardy - Own work UK freedom of panorama. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Kneller Hall” by Jonathan CardyOwn work UK freedom of panorama. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Dr Mathias has said she was ‘dismayed’ to hear the announcement of the plans and that she will be fighting against them.  She has asked to meet with ministers to try to persuade them to reverse the decision. Meanwhile Council Leader Nick True, aka the Blue Baron, has got himself into ‘slamming mode’ once again. In an El Brute press release he says, “This is a decision which the people of Twickenham and Richmond-upon-Thames Council will seek to resist in any way possible… Kneller Hall is an important piece of not just local, but national cultural and military heritage. It should not be tossed away to please junior accounting clerks in the Treasury with no understanding of the place of military music in London’s life and our nation’s military history.”  Wallop! ‘Ave it! In your faces ‘Junior accounting clerks in the Treasury’, you have been warned!

An online petition has been set up to try to save the Kneller Hall from being sold off. To be continued…

LINKS
* Save Kneller Hall Facebook
* Online Petition
* Richmond Council page
* Tania Mathias MP page
* Kneller Hall – Army site
* Kneller Hall – wikipedia