Agenda item

Draft Annual Report for Keats House Charity 2018/19

Report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.


Members received a report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath relative to the Draft Annual Report for Keats House Charity 2018/19. The report presented the draft annual report on activities at Keats House for the year ending 31 March 2019 and proposed to change the timing of Keats House Consultative Committee meetings to better align with the City of London Corporation’s reporting cycle. The following discussion ensued:


By reorganising the meeting schedule to May and October, the information in the May report can also be used for the statutory charities report eliminating unnecessary effort. The information in the November report (such as revenue and visitor numbers) will contain actual half year data and will help inform the planning for the following financial year. The Consultative Committee supported this proposal.


Regarding the wording of ‘The Charity’s Origin’ in the Draft Annual Report, the Bridge House Estate (BHE) contact in the Chamberlain’s Department is being consulted to reword the section without losing meaning.


The Keats House business plan is informed by the City’s Corporate Plan, and the achievement of key priorities relates to the departmental vision and priorities. The Chairman noted that cultural objectives should also be recognised, and Keats House should not be seen solely as an Open Spaces initiative.


Members were informed that the Keats200 Programme has been successfully launched. The programme was brought forward from 2021 to 2018. At the launch in December 2018, 230 visitors attended, and although entrance was free on that day, Keats House made more revenue from gift shop sales than ticket and shop sales combined for the same day the previous year. The event demonstrated a clear link between history, location and connections with the Heath. The over-all events programme is strong, with Keats200 being promoted throughout the programme.


Members were informed of other successful Keats House Programmes, including the Poetry Ambassadors, Poet In-Residence, Open House London and Late-Night Keats.


Members emphasised the importance of thanking volunteers, including Heath Hands. The recent reception for volunteers organised by the Chief Commoner at Guildhall was appreciated by attendees.


Public engagements have been positive and demonstrated increased involvement with the public. At the Hampstead Art Fair, Keats House representatives engaged positively with approximately 100 people.


External Members’ expressed concern that Keats House does not bring a profit for the City and there is a risk that the City may no longer support Keats House due to the financial loss. The Chairman stated that although Keats House does not bring a profit, there is no desire in the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee to release Keats House from the care of the City.


In response to questions regarding Keats Foundation, the Principal Curator stated that Keats Foundation supports the Poets Programme, private hire for the annual conference carries the Keats House logo, and was the first to sign up to the Keats200 programme.


Overall, Keats House’s primary goal is to increase visitor numbers through Keats200 programming and its legacy, which will result in increased revenue.


RESOLVED – That Members:

1.    note the contents of the report;

2.    indicate support for fixing the timing of the Keats House Consultative Committee meetings to better fit the annual reporting cycle;

3.    the views of the Keats House Consultative Committee be conveyed to the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee at their meeting on 13 May 2019.

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