HLF London welcomes new chair and members to committee

Blondel Cluff

As Chief Executive of the West India Committee, a Royal Charter charity; a Governor of the Museum of London and a Fellow of King’s College, London, Blondel will bring a diverse range of expertise to her new role. Two further new appointments to the committee have been named as Jenny Cousins and Rachel Hasted.
The HLF Committee for London is made up of leading figures in the heritage sector across London chosen for their wide range of experience and local knowledge. Responsible for making decisions on applications to the Fund from £100,000 to £2million, the Committee is supported by the HLF team for London.

Using money raised through the National Lottery HLF funds an amazing array of projects that encompass all aspects of the UK’s rich and diverse heritage. The committee that Blondel Cluff will chair covers the Greater London area. 2014 is the 20th anniversary of the National Lottery and during this period HLF has supported more than 3,400 London projects distributing over £1.1bn.

In her position as Chief Executive of the West India Committee, Blondel Cluff is responsible for the oldest body representative of the Commonwealth, established in London 279 years ago with records of Caribbean heritage spanning more than 500 years. She is also a solicitor with more than 18 years’ experience in the City of London.

Talking about her new role as Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for London, she said: “It is a great honour to serve London in this way. It is one of the greatest cities on the planet and home of some of the world’s most important heritage. This role, however, is not just about the preservation of conventional heritage, but must include the heritage that is locked inside the memories and experiences of Londoners themselves - the true gems of this amazing city.”

Jenny Cousins has worked for a museums design company, for English Heritage and, since 2011, for the Imperial War Museums leading the redevelopment of the Lord Foster-designed American Air Museum for IWM Duxford.

Commenting on her appointment Jenny Cousins said: “As a long-time Hackney resident and as a museum professional, I’m thrilled to join the London Committee and look forward to contributing towards the impressive and important work that the Heritage Lottery Fund enables.”

Rachel Hasted is a heritage and diversity consultant and researcher and retired recently from the post of Head of Social Inclusion and Diversity at English Heritage. She said: “Londoners have an extraordinary diversity of heritage and HLF has done so much to support people who want to preserve and pass on some of this unique richness.  It is an honour to join the London committee and help to continue that work.”

Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London said: “We are extremely pleased to be welcoming these three new members to the committee. They bring a wealth of experience to what is already a very strong team of decision makers. Their wide ranging expertise and strong regional awareness will be of great benefit to both HLF and the heritage of the London.”

The range of projects supported by HLF covers the restoration of historic buildings, improvements to museums and galleries, makeovers for local parks, purchasing works of art and treasured artefacts, helping to conserve the natural environment, and promoting community involvement in conserving local social histories. HLF is also actively involved in supporting a wide range of projects marking the centenary of the First World War.

The projects are both large and small ranging from multi-million pound building refurbishments to local youngsters tracing the history of their local town and filming a DVD or producing a play. Examples of recent projects include: the restoration of the Royal Festival Hall and its organ; the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich; Burgess Park, Southwark; the Crossness Pumping Station, Bexley; and the surviving Cabbies Shelters in several London boroughs.

Notes to editors

Blondel Cluff

Mrs Blondel Cluff is currently the Chief Executive of the West India Committee, a UK registered charity incorporated by Royal Charter and founded in 1735. The object of this NGO is the promotion of agriculture, manufacturing, trade and industry in and with the Caribbean, Belize and Guyana to improve the general welfare of the peoples of the region and its global diaspora. Her work includes the development of Cultural tourism as a means of protecting and disseminating the heritage of the region.

Blondel is a Fellow of King's College London and served on the College Council for nine years and remains on the College's Investment Sub-Committee. She also served on the Development Committee of the National Arts Collection Fund for several years. She is currently a Governor of the Museum of London, representing the Mayor of London.

As a solicitor with over 18years experience in the City Blondel was recognised as one of the leading experts in Stock Exchange Money Broking. In that capacity, she wrote the industry standard documentation that was adopted globally, as well as working with the London Stock Exchange and Bank of England to devise the regulatory framework that would govern the market. She also worked with the Inland Revenue to introduce Statutory Instrument 1299 by which the market would be taxed.

Whilst at Lazard Brothers & Co., Limited she established the first in-house legal department, still in practice today, and became an Assistant Director to the main board at the age of 28. In conjunction with her legal career, Blondel became a successful jewellery designer, with many pieces in leading collections throughout the world.

Jenny Cousins
Jenny Cousins was born in the centre of Soho, but grew up mostly in the Lake District and now lives in Hackney. She read history at Balliol College, Oxford, and the history of film at Birkbeck College, University of London.

She began her career at museum design firm Event Communications, where she was involved with projects for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the National Trust for Jersey and the National Trust for Scotland.

She subsequently worked for English Heritage, with responsibility for interpretation at c.80 heritage sites in London and the south-east of England, ranging in age from the prehistoric to the modern. Major exhibition projects included Charles Darwin’s home, Down House and the garden interpretation at the stunning neo-Palladian villa, Chiswick House.

Jenny joined IWM in February 2011 to lead the redevelopment of the American Air Museum, a spectacular Norman Foster building at IWM Duxford, housing a world-class collection of historic aircraft.

She has a particular interest in LGBT history and heritage, through her involvement with London’s LGBT community choir, the Pink Singers.

Rachel Hasted
Rachel Hasted is a heritage and diversity consultant and researcher.  She recently retired as Head of Social Inclusion and Diversity at English Heritage, where she worked from 2006. Previously Rachel was the first Social Inclusion Manager at The National Archives from 2003-6.

Rachel trained as a museum curator and has worked for most of her career in London museums, starting with Bruce Castle Museum, Tottenham (1986-2001), then moving to the Commonwealth Institute. From 1994-1997, Rachel undertook freelance commissions while studying for an M.A. in social and cultural history at Essex University. From 1997-2003 Rachel managed Croydon Museum and Heritage Service.

Current research interests include the history of housing designed for disabled war veterans and the commemoration of contributions to the First World War by Empire troops and Labour Corps.  Publications include aspects of women's history, LGBT history and inclusive representation in museums.

Further information

Heritage Lottery Fund: Vicky Wilford on 020 7591 6046 / 07968 129241, email: vickyw@hlf.org.uk.