Arundells is in the middle of this photograph
The house has no cars in the driveway
While the Conservative meet this weekend to discuss the reasons as to why they're slipping in the polls Tim Montgomerie's lead in ConservativeHome today is a plea to keep Ted Heath's home open. The house is where Heath spend the last 20 years of his life.
Arundells lies in the most English of English settings - Cathedral Close, Salisbury - tucked within the shadows of Salisbury Cathedral. It is a stunningly handsome house, along with others in the Close, although I've never seen the interior. At £8 a head, with no concessions, I won't be rushing to see it and if you don't visit this year, then you'll be too late.
Ted Heath died in 2005 and left his £5 million estate to a charitable foundation which included opening his home for the education of the public, but the costs of opening, running and maintaining the house and garden far outweigh the revenue raised from visitors. The Foundation has no other sources of income and says it does not have sufficient resources to keep Arundells, which was his home for the last 20 years of his life, open indefinitely. They have decided not to seek an extension of the planning and listed buildings consents for the opening of the house and these are due to expire at the end of 2010.
Back to Tim and his disappointment. He feels it regrettable that the house can't stay open for schoolchildren and others to visit and learn more about Heath's life and the life of a British Prime Minister, although he admits he believes Heath's legacy was as negative as it was consequential.
Although many remember Heath for taking the UK into the European Community back in 1973, my memory of him always recalls his treatment of Enoch Powell. He sacked Enoch Powell after he made his 'Rivers of Blood' speech and never spoke to him again. That was not unsurprising given the man's . What did show me the true character of the man was, when Powell died in 1988 and Heath was asked for his reaction, he told the media,"I won't be making a statement".
For a man who showed a fondness, bordering upon obsession for music, I found his lack of empathy chilling.
His house should be sold. It has no real historical significance as Heath bought it long after he had influence in the Conservative party. The fact that he thought the nation would flock to visit his residence just shows the pomposity of the man. He even managed to make Maggie Thatcher appear motherly. Quite an achievement.