Flood at the Holst Birthplace Museum
The historic 19th century birthplace of the composer Gustav Holst, one of the most important figures in classical music, has been badly damaged by flash flooding. The Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham suffered from torrential rain on Tuesday 14th June, resulting in an ingress of water coming into the building through the attic and damaging three period rooms. Fortunately staff were quick to act and removed significant paintings from the collection to safety in time, including paintings by Gustav Holst’s great-uncle, Theodor von Holst who influenced the Pre-Raphaelites. In total five items were damaged by the flood and have now been removed from the Museum for conservation work. However urgent building work is now required to repair three rooms, including the room where Gustav Holst was born in 1874. Because of the damage to the building the Museum is currently closed to the general public and will be until further notice.
The Trustees and staff of the Holst Birthplace Museum are working closely with loss adjustors to ensure that all damage to the building and its fixtures and fittings will be covered by the Museum’s insurance. However the Museum will also be launching a fundraising appeal, ‘Help Holst’ to cover loss of admissions in what was to be the busiest time of the year, as well as meet costs of remedial building work not covered by the insurance. The Museum is a charity and is dependent on its visitor income to keep it open to the public.
During its closed period the Holst Birthplace Museum will be holding a series of events and activities in different Cheltenham locations, most notably at Pittville Pump Room where staff and volunteers will be running free children’s activities during the summer holidays and will be talking to people about the progress of the building works.
Laura Kinnear, Curator of the Holst Birthplace Museum says: ‘Sadly the Museum was affected by the extremely stormy weather experienced in Cheltenham over the past few weeks. This resulted in three rooms being badly damaged, including Gustav Holst’s bedroom where the ceiling is currently being supported by ‘props’ to help its stability. ‘Help Holst’, a campaign to raise funds for the Museum will be officially launched soon and we will be encouraging the public to get involved in helping us to fundraise.’