To create a nationally recognised centre in Highgate for the enhancement and deeper understanding of the poetry, literature, theological thought, and philosophy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge who lived here and is buried at St Michael’s Church Highgate. He was a visionary who helped shape our national imagination, and this new space will allow St Michael’s Church to become a creative focus and vibrant hub for local, regional national and international groups with a shared interest in grappling with, studying and appreciation of one of England’s greatest poets who worked at a formative time of our emerging national identity.
Not only will our project attract many more visitors per year to Highgate village than currently, it will contribute to Highgate’s seriously under-developed, tourist capacity. With proper marketing, publicity, and liaison there is every reason to believe that the Coleridge Centre will attract domestic and international visitors. This could lead to employment opportunities within the project itself, as well as contributing substantially to the local economy.
Based in an already internationally recognised centre of interest for travellers from all over the world our project will reveal, conserve and secure a safe future for the international heritage of which Coleridge’s resting place within the church of St Michael’s is a substantial historical expression. It will secure a safe and protected future for the remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his family which is currently in danger of further deterioration. It will seek to build a comprehensive archive devoted to his work and those of his legacy including his daughter, Sarah, a much-neglected genius of the Victorian age.
The aim of the project is to be self-funding as far as is possible. Revenues will accrue from visitor donations and expenditure; the hiring out of accessible rooms to statutory and non-statutory agencies alike; by creating with our partners an educational environment in which the works of the poet and his legacy may be studied, and where a deeper understanding of those works may be achieved. A shop and café envisaged in our plan, will also contribute to revenue.
The project will seek to engage with all the residents of Highgate and London, the UK and Internationally to enhance an understanding of Coleridge’s work and legacy. It will achieve this by delivering new and improved spaces within the buildings fabric that will excite and engage visitors and the community. It will deliver a far-reaching Activity Plan that targets all groups regardless of age, education, faith or ethnicity.
The Coleridge Centre will celebrate the life, family and works of a poet of local, national and international renown. Moreover, it will celebrate the church in which they rest, and provide a focal point in which the community of interest which he has helped establish can come together and celebrate itself.
Sir Paul Coleridge
Sir Paul Coleridge was a barrister/QC practising in Family Law for thirty years. In 2000 he was made a High Court judge where he remained until 2014. He is currently an independent private arbitrator and also chairman of Marriage Foundation a charity he launched in 2012. Sir Paul is the great x5 nephew of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and an STC nut who is fascinated by his troubled life, his poetry and his writing of all kinds.
Alan is an IT project management consultant in the London finance sector. As one of the founding members of this new trust, Alan is actively working on establishing its framework and governance to ensure that The Coleridge Trust is successful in achieving all of its stated objectives. Alan is a former Church warden of, and an active member at St Michael’s Church. He is also chair of the Kirima trust.
Drew’s career was in journalism and public relations, editing health and social care magazines and providing media and policy advice to social care organisations. He has authored and edited several books on social care management and social policy. He is a devotee of Coleridge and Wordsworth and a keen reader of all their works and works about them.
Charles is a Chartered Accountant who trained with Grant Thornton in audit, where he worked with small and medium enterprises, charities, and other not-for-profits. After qualifying, Charles moved into industry, working in the Hospitality sector. Originally from the United States, Charles has lived in the UK for 15 years. He has also lived in Germany and Russia. Charles has an interest in the Romantic Movement as a response to the Enlightenment and its values.
Elspeth is an architect running a practice based in
Shoreditch. She has a long history of committee work including RIBA and ARB as
well as chairing and serving on a number of committees. She has been and
involved in education at a professional level as an external examiner at several
architectural schools, a course validator and a school governor. She was a past
chair of the Highgate Society and currently is a Trustee of Hampstead Garden
Suburb Trust and chair of their planning and policy committee.
Kevin Prosser is a QC specialising in tax. He lived for 15 years in 3 The Grove, Highgate where Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a resident (not at the same time) and owns a lock of Coleridge’s hair.
Kunle is the vicar of St Michael’s Church. He is also on the board of trustees at St Michael’s School. Kunle is continuously looking at partnerships to extend outreach for the church, particularly in the local community, and he sees great potential for St Michael’s church in contributing towards this initiative.
Malcom is an accredited RIBA Specialist Conservation Architect with extensive experience working on cultural and commercial projects in the heritage sector, including the Black Cultural Archives, Fort Nelson, the V&A, Floral Street redevelopment at Covent Garden, St Cross Building for Oxford University, Poplar Baths and the Pitt Rivers Research Centre. He is also a member of the RIBA Conservation Accreditation Panel, is chair of the fabric committee at St Michael’s church and a member of the PCC.