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.