Val Bott has been an independent museum consultant since 2000; she also has over 25 years’ experience of managing museums and collections. She supports a number of heritage charities and in June 2014 was awarded an MBE for her heritage and conservation work. She was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in February 2020.
She is now focussing on her historical research for nurserygardeners.com. Her voluntary role supporting the Mulberry Garden Project at Hogarth’s House for the William Hogarth Trust is currently postponed during the Covid-19 crisis though fund-raising continues.
Work on site for the Mulberry Garden Project at Hogarth’s House began in the summer of 2018. With an HLF grant of £1.35m, £150,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation and many other small grants, the partnership of the William Hogarth Trust and Hounslow Council is con-structing a new “exhibition garden” to provide a fine setting for the Grade I listed house, using planting and features to tell its story since the 1680s. The new studio will offer a base for learning as well as an elegant space for events and functions. As project co-ordinator for the William Hogarth Trust Val has contributed to the interpret-ation scheme and undertaken much of the fund-raising.
The Heritage Room at The Grange Centre in Bookham was opened by the Duke of Gloucester in September 2018. The collection of needlework and equipment, dating from the beginnings of the charity as The School of Stitchery and Lace in the 1930s, plus recent art work by some of the people with whom The Grange works, are on display with photographs and oral history recordings. It presents the story of The Grange and looks at the history of the care and training of people with disabilities over 80 years.
Aaron Jones created the elegant design, with graphics by Nicky Doyle. Louise Squire, textile conservator, prepared garments and domestic textiles for display. Val advised on the concept and wrote most of the interpretative text. This lovely project has been supported by an HLF grant.
Val advised Berry Brothers & Rudd, the St James’s Street wine merchants founded in 1698, during 2017 and 2018. She listed business archives, papers as well as all manner of packaging and merchandising, and advised on new displays for the refurbished reception at No 3 St James’s Street, the 18th century premises. Now she has handed over the development of an archives strategy to fellow consultant, Jon Newman, who has overseen conservation work and prepared a strategy for the future.
London’s land-based college, Capel Manor, opens its Enfield estate to visitors, with model gardens, animal displays and events throughout the year. Val has advised upon ways of interpreting the heritage of the estate. Her initial research has revealed new information about the history of the site. Her essay on the Boddam family, who owned the property from about 1790 to 1810, won Enfield’s Council’s David Pam Memorial Prize in 2016.