NOVEMBER 2018 - On 10th November 2018 'Magazín Práva', a supplement in the Czech national newspaper 'Pravo', featured this year's working party organised by The Friends at the Chateau of Vizovice. The article is by Zuzana Musálková, with excerpts below translated from the Czech by Rupert Emery.
"The fact that foreigners admire our cultural monuments – and moreover the sheer number – is nothing new. For eleven years now, these architectural treasures – and in particular those that are forgotten, and rarely receive money for their repair – have had foreign ‘Friends’. The Friends of Czech Heritage are based in the county of Sussex, in the south of England. Under their patronage, volunteers come to lend a hand, helping to preserve and restore the Czech cultural heritage."
"For the inhabitants of some western countries it is common to devote their time to a good cause, and they are more educated in this spirit. But many Czechs will join the work too. According to data from the Czech Statistical Office, about one million inhabitants of our country were involved in the enormous activities of 2014, and their free labor saved the state around six billion crowns."
"The FoCH organisation would like to see these figures increase. "We do not have the capacity or the means to carry out a major reconstruction of larger sites, but we can provide a smaller grant or help with the revitalisation of the site and try to spark the recovery process," says the architect [Chairman Peter Jamieson]."
OCTOBER 2018 - The NPÚ, the Czech National Heritage Institute, posted on its website an account of The Friends' working holiday in Vizovice in Moravia. A group of Czech and British volunteers rebuilt a length of the boundary wall of the chateau and park. The page, in Czech only, is available to read here.
JUNE 2018 - There was local publicity in Žďár nad Sázavou about our recent working party in June. The front cover of this newpaper has the caption 'The British on their knees. They're fixing monuments'.
AUGUST 2017 - The ceremony for the award of 'Artis Bohemiae Amicis' to Ian Kennaway is reported by the website PROPAMÁTKY, published by the Institut pro památky a kulturu (The Institute for Monuments and Culture, a non-profitmaking organisation).
JULY 2017 - The website of the Czech Christian and Democratic Union - Czechoslovak People's Party (KDU–ČSL) reports the presentation of the 'Artis Bohemiae Amicis' to Ian Kennaway by Culture Minister Daniel Herman.
JULY 2017 - An news item in the Czech weekly 'Týden' mentions the award to one of our founders. A summary of the article follows.
'Ian Kennaway has been awarded the prize 'Artis Bohemiae Amicis' for those who have given significant support to Czech arts and cultural heritage. Culture Minister Daniel Herman said "No foreign expert has done so much to preserve our aristocratic residences, including their collections and parks, as Mr. Kennaway, who has spent years absolutely unselfishly and without reward."
Ian Kennaway was Director of the Regions for The National Trust in the 1990s. After the collapse of the communist regime in the Czech Republic in 1989, he contacted professional conservation workers in the Czech lands with the opportunity to share experience of the care of historical buildings and their collections. Among other things, with art historian Barbara Peacock he founded the 2007 Friends of Czech Heritage.'
JULY 2017 - CZECH MAGAZINE INTERVIEW
Barbara Peacock was interviewed recently for the very popular Czech women's magazine 'Vlasta': as you can see, many of our projects were highlighted through a large selection of photographs. Barbara was photographed in the Jan Hus Church in Smíchov, Prague, one of The Friends' current projects.
Czech version here: https://www.facebook.com/judita.matyasova/posts/10211184564703445
FEBRUARY 2017 - RADIO PAGUE INTERVIEWS ONE OF OUR FOUNDERS ABOUT OUR WORK
Jiří Hošek, Czech Radio’s correspondent in the UK, met Barbara Peacock to talk about her work and began by asking what sparked her interest in the Czech Republic, click here.
"Following a visit to the Czech Republic in the early 1990s, Ms. Peacock set up The Friends of Czech Heritage fund, winning over British and Czech volunteers to help restore historic buildings, gardens and landmarks around the country." PHOTOGRAPH © JOCELYN RENDALL
January 2017 – CZECH MEDIA COVERAGE OF AN AWARD TO BARBARA PEACOCK, ONE OF OUR FOUNDERS
Following the award to Barbara Peacock on 12th January, given by UK Prime Minister Theresa May in recognition of the fundraising and conservation work of The Friends of Czech Heritage, we received many favourable mentions in the Czech media. Barbara was named as a 'Point of Light' for being one of the founders of The Friends and for the work that we do.
SEPTEMBER 2016 - MEDIA COVERAGE OF OUR WORKING HOLIDAYS
The Friends' work has been highlighted by several Czech media newspapers and we were featured on the website of the Památky, published by the Institute for Monuments and Culture with offices in Prague and Písek. The institute encourages volunteer work in the Czech Republic, so our working holidays are seen as an excellent model for further projects.
SEPTEMBER 2016 - WORKING HOLIDAY AT KRÁSNÝ DVŮR
The working party was a joint venture between The Friends of Czech Heritage and Czech National Heritage Institute. Following the success of the week, which was widely reported in the local press, further volunteer working holidays are being planned for 2017.
The Friends' working holiday at Žďár nad Sázavou included maintenance of the Lower Cemetery (which was in fact never used for burials) and ran 11th - 18th June. The site was built by the famous Baroque architect J. B. Santini-Aichel, and the work means that it can now be opened to the public. Tasks involved simple building work, some clearance and preservation work and simple terrain work. During the week there was the chance to visit some of the region’s houses and castles. The UNESCO pilgrimage church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená hora forms part of the complex. Peter Jamieson, Chairman of the Friends was interviewed for two television news reports that also mentioned our other support at the complex since 2008.
Image courtesy of Czech television, showing reporter Dušan Vrbecký, live on the Studio 6 programme.
The Czech daily newspaper Mladá Fronta Dnes MDF covered our working holiday at Žďár nad Sázavou in Moravia, likewise the local newpaper Žďárský deník. A lot of goodwill was generated as our volunteers, both from the Czech Republic and the UK, worked on this famous site.
January 2016 - Our Chairman Peter Jamieson has a four-page article about the work of The Friends of Czech Heritage at Uherčice in Moravia in the current number of the SPAB Magazine. In it his tells the history of the château, its fate since World War Two, and writes about the projects that The Friends have supported there, in particular the ceiling and windows in the Banqueting Hall. You may download it here .
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) was founded by William Morris, Philip Webb and others, in 1877, to oppose what they saw as destructive 'restoration' of ancient buildings then occurring in VictorianEngland; "ancient" being used in the wider sense of "very old" rather than the more usual modern one of "pre-medieval". SPAB still operates according to Morris's original manifesto. It campaigns, advises, runs training programmes and courses, conducts research and publishes information. For its dedicated service to heritage, the society was awarded the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in 2012.
Photographs of the magazine courtesy of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings:
December 2015 - Interview on Radio Prague: our Chairman Peter Jamieson was interviewed about our work by Ian Willoughby on Radio Prague: you can read or listen here . Excerpt below.
"The Friends of Czech Heritage is a British charity that raises funds to help repair and preserve historical buildings in the Czech Republic. It also organises work parties in which members travel here from the UK to take part in restoration projects in a very hands on-manner. Retired architect Peter Jamieson is the chairman of the Friends of Czech Heritage. When we met in London, he filled me in on his connections to the country to which he now devotes so much time and energy."
April 2015 - Press report about our work at Čečovice, talking about the article in our Newsletter and the visit by our committee members earlier in the year.
The caption reads: "A British charity will help the Château of Čečovice - Members of the Czech organisation 'Club of Ladislav Lábek', which is trying to rescue the château in Čečovice, have reason to be very happy this year" .
The full article mentions that our interest in the neglected château has the aim of attracting other sponsors, and that the Czech organisation is particularly appreciative of the publicity that has been generated as a result of the article in The Friends' Newsletter.
Spring 2015 - The National Trust use images form our working holidays in Červený Dvůr, South Bohemia, on its website to promote all such international programmes.
December 2014 - The Prague Post reports on the exhibition 'Castles & Châteaux Rediscovered and Celebrated exhibition'
"The exhibition opens with the monumental medieval gates of Karlštejn Castle, though which the Holy Roman Emperor and Czech King Charles IV would have walked; they have been witness to many skirmishes throughout history and now are opened almost daily to hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving from various corners of the world.
Prior to their transfer to Prague Castle they were treated, reinforced and secured against damage; this restoration work was financed by a gift amounting to approximately 70,000 Kč (£2000) provided by the English charity, the Friends of Czech Heritage."
July 2014 Enthusiastic coverage by the Czech national newspapers Mladá Fronta Dnes and Pravo of the working parties in Červený Dvůr, South Bohemia. The writers commend the British for wanting to help rescue Czech buildings.
It is clear from our experience over the past three years at Červený Dvůr that The Friends have been able to draw on the long experience and tradition of volunteering in the UK. This has been very fruitful and will be a cost-effective way of providing assistance to conservation projects in the future. The recruitment of volunteers has been greatly helped by the assistance we have received form The National Trust, which has included details of our working holidays in its brochures and has also posted them on their website. The building at Červený Dvůr may be a small one, but we hope that it will serve as a good example for others to follow elsewhere.
29th April 2014 - Exhibition opens in České Budějovice detailing 25 years of cooperation between Czech and British monument specialists
ČTK REPORTS ON THE FRIENDS' WORK IN MORAVIA
Uherčice, South Moravia, April 28 2014 (ČTK) - The British group The Friends of Czech Heritage will provide some 900,000 crowns for the renewal of the first room of the dilapidated Uherčice château which the state plans to restore, the château's administrator Eva Stepánová said Tuesday.
The Uherčice château is the most devastated state-owned historical building in Moravia. The first room to undergo reconstruction will be the banqueting hall, whose painted ceiling will be reconstructed with the British money, Stepánová, said.
The National Heritage Institute (NPÚ) has been in charge of the château since 1995 but they still fail to gain money for its reconstruction. From 2009 to 2013, the NPÚ used the proceeds from wine auctions to restore the banqueting hall's 13 windows. After the ceiling is restored, the NPÚ will need six million crowns more to restore the wall paintings and the historical wooden floor.
"The British foundation is now seeking a sponsor in Britain who would help us with these projects," Stepánová said.
Unlike the neighbouring châteaux of Vránov and Bitov, Uherčice is not that popular a tourist destination. About 2,500 people visit in annually. The château's last owner was the Italian noble family Collalto and San Salvatore, who owned it until after the end of World War II, when they were branded enemies of the state and their property was confiscated. In the communist period, the château served as the headquarters of the Czechoslovak military guards monitoring the nearby border with Austria.
Copyright 2014 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.
Published with the permission of ČTK
June 2013 Coverage of The Friends' Working Holidays by the Czech National Heritage Institute
January 2013 Quarterly PROPAMÁTKY
An article in Czech featuring the exhibition Kostel 365 that The Friends brought to London in Autumn 2012 was carried in the quarterly magazine PROPAMÁTKY, published by the Institut pro památky a kulturu (The Institute for Monuments and Culture) www.instituteu.cz. It featured several photos of the launch, including our Chairman Irena Edwards and our patron Eva Jiříčná. The exhibition was originated by Ing. Aleš Kozák, director of the Institute, and featured photos by Jan Bartoš of Czech churches that have found new uses.
May 2012 Czech Daily Newspaper Mladá Front Dnes
From an article about Stephen Conlin's participation in an exhibition of historical drawings with Tomáš Rygl and Ondřej Ševců, which ran from 22 May - 22 June 2012
But just admiring the beauty of historic buildings wasn’t enough for this artist. He is a member of the British charity The Friends of Czech Historic Buildings, Gardens and Parks. "We have more than 100 members and we like to discuss Czech music and buildings. We get together for lectures in London with, of course, Moravian wine, and we talk about our visits to the Czech Republic" says Conlin. "The charity through its members has already managed to raise funds for the repair of a statue at the château of Lysice and for the Banqueting Hall in the château of Uherčice. ‘There will never be enough money for heritage buildings, but we are trying at least to do something. If other people do something similar, then it can make a difference" adds Conlin.
February 2012 Czech Television ČT24 Brno
'British Charity is helping with the restoration of the Banqueting Hall in the château of Uherčice'.
Uherčice – The National Heritage Institute together with British heritage lovers is working on a project for the restoration of the paintings on the decorated ceiling of the banqueting hall in the castle at Uherčice in Znojmo District. The British organisation “The Friends of Czech Historic Buildings, Gardens and Parks” wishes to donate £30,000 (nearly 900,000 crowns) for that purpose.
The château is indeed one of the architectural pearls of Moravia but is also Moravia’s most dilapidated monument in state ownership. According to rough estimates, 180 million crowns [£6 million] will be required to put right the site’s ruinous state but there is no money available even in the long term.
“The banqueting hall ceiling is unfortunately not in a good state, particularly the plastering. More recently in about the year 2000 the plaster began to fall off above the entrance staircase and for the sake of its use by visitors we secured it with a transparent plastic sheet”, said the Castle Curator, Eva Štěpánová. Restoration of the banqueting hall can benefit the building significantly. An area will be created there for holding exhibitions, concerts and social events.
“Without the financial assistance from the British side we would not be in a position to carry out important repairs to the hall”, added Zdeněk Musil, a spokesman for the Heritage Institute. Alongside the reconstruction of the ceiling, repairs to the windows of the banqueting hall will also be put in hand in the spring. The money for that will come mostly from donations and the proceeds of a fundraising concert. This will probably take place in mid-July. Last time it produced 130,000 crowns for the castle funds but that is only a drop in the ocean. Lack of money is increasingly the sorest point for Uherčice castle. State financing barely suffices for running costs.
“The state of the building is not even stabilised as yet. There are constantly collapsed ceilings, collapsed floors and a complete lack of window panes”, laments Zdeněk Vácha from the National Heritage Institute in Brno. According to calculations by the conservationists 500 million crowns [£17 million] would be required for complete preservation of the castle and its gardens.
Translation by Michael Chant.
February 2012 Radio Prague
News item about the Banqueting Hall at Uherčice, South Moravia.
February 2012 Děčínský Deník Newspaper
'The British are protecting the château's gallery'.
Note from The Friends: The château of Děčín stands high on a rock above the river Labe. In the 17th century the château came into the possession of the Thun-Hohenstein family. In 1932 Count Thun was compelled to sell the château for financial reasons to the Czechoslovak state, which converted it into barracks. After the departure of the Russian army in the early 1990s, the town of Děčín acquired the building. Many rooms are now open to the public but they lack most of the original contents. The family owned an important collection of paintings that remains largely in store.The aim is to see them hang once again on the château walls where they belong. The curators chose the portrait of the Princess Royal, Maria of Habsburg, future wife of Emperor Ferdinand III, for restoration.
December 2011 Znojemský Deník News
'The British are helping the château of Uherčice'
November 2011 ČTK The Czech News Agency
British Friends of heritage donate CZK 900,000 for chateau reconstruction
30 November 2011 Uherčice, South Moravia
British charity The Friends of Czech Historic Buildings, Gardens and Parks, created in Britain four years ago, will donate an equivalent of some 900,000 crowns for the reconstruction of the Banqueting Hall in Uherčice château next year, the chateau's warden Eva Štěpanová told CTK yesterday. The reconstruction is estimated at some 180 million crowns which the state has long been lacking, however. "We pin great hopes on the reconstruction of the Banqueting Hall. We will have a quality space in which to hold concerts and exhibitions that may help improve our very bad budget," Štěpanová said.
The hall has 13 windows, five of which have been repaired. The British gift will be used for the production of two windows and the reconstruction of ceilings. The hall is already now used for social events.
The hall will be the fourth project of The Friends in Moravia. They have paid for the restoration of the Winter Allegory statue in Uherčice château park, the reconstruction of a Baroque painting of Count Tomas Vinciguerra Collalto (1710-68) and the restoration of a statue of Apollo from the château in Lysice, south Moravia.
The military transferred the dilapidated Uherčice château to the Czech National Heritage Institute in 1995. The roof was damaged and ceilings broken, but these have now been repaired.
(£1=29 Czech Crowns in 2018) Copyright 2011 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved. Copying, dissemination or other publication of this article or parts thereof without the prior written consent of ČTK is expressly forbidden. The Prague Daily Monitor and Monitor CE are not responsible for its content.
July 2011 Uherčice Château Press Release The Friends have raised a large sum of money to help restore the hall and make it alive with music again - as concerts in recent years by Pavlina Senić so beautifully illustrate. In July a third fundraising concert by Senić was held in the Banqueting Hall as part of the Hudba Znojmo Festival 2011. Pavlína Senić and the Collegium of the Czech Philharmonic performed under Václav Postránecký. The concert was held under the auspices of Miroslava Němcová.
March 2011 Czech Television 2 News
One of our Trustees was interviewed at Lysice Chateau for the evening news of Česká Televize 2 in a report about the handover of the Collalto painting that will be returned to the Château of Uherčice. Those present also viewed the statue of Apollo that was about to go for restoration, partly funded by The Friends, see photo, left.
March 2011 Czech Press
Handover of the Collalto portrait and the start of the restoration of the statue of Apollo at the Chateau of Lysice, Moravia. The event was widely covered in local and regional press in the Czech Republic.
'The British help with the repair of a statue.'
November 2010 Czech Press
'The National Heritage Institute arranges for the restoration of a valuable painting of Count Collalto'
Dr Zdeněk Vácha is seen holding the painting in the course of restoration. He writes elsewhere: 'The reason for the restoration was the aim to display at Uherčice another portrait of the Collalto family, who were connected with the history of the château from 1768-1945. There are nine portraits on display at present in the few rooms currently open to the public, but this is only a fraction of the several dozen family portraits in our possession.
January 2010 BBC Radio 4
Eva Jiřicná, our patron, speaks on Midweek on BBC Radio 4 with Libby Purves about her work and The Friends.