In a strange turn of events, Murrills House in Portchester, UK, is set to become the new Head Quarters of the IIMS. But wait a minute I hear you say. IIMS is already headquartered in Murrills House isn’t it? Yes you are right of course. IIMS has been renting these offices for the past decade since its move from Gosport. But with the end of the lease looming, IIMS entered into talks with the landlord earlier this year with a view to the Institute acquiring the freehold of the property and adjacent land. The outright purchase of suitable office accommodation rather than renting one was something that the membership voted in favour of at the 2018 AGM.
So now IIMS would like your help. We are reaching out to the members and supporters of the Institute to invite them to make a financial donation towards the essential maintenance we would like to undertake upon completion of the deal to secure Murrills House as the Institute’s new permanent headquarters. Any financial donation will not simply go to the bottom line of the business and get lost. Rather, we plan to invest it in paying to replace some of the old period windows which are rotten, the front door and some external rendering that also need attention.
All those who choose to make a donation (unless anonymously) will be recognised with a special, individual Founders Plaque for each person making a donation which will be displayed in the offices for ever more. And rest assured that any donation, no matter how small, will be very gratefully received. We have made it simple to do by setting up an online Just Giving page for you to make your donation. Alternatively you can simply transfer money to IIMS but please let us know beforehand if you intend to do so.
Commenting on the proposed purchase of Murrills House, Mike Schwarz, said, “I am delighted to be in a position to acquire Murrills for the long-term benefit of the Institute and its members. I believe it represents excellent value for money and underpins the very future of the organisation.”
He added, “This is a unique opportunity to purchase a Grade II building of significant local historical interest and knowing we will be helping to preserve it for future generations is indeed a privilege.”
IIMS has been on a long term property search going back over the past 18 months. Nothing suitable to purchase in the area has been identified and there is a real lack of such properties coming to market. So, the opportunity to acquire Murrills House is an exciting prospect. It meets the needs of the business very nicely. Sure it has a few faults, but what building that is centuries old doesn’t? There is some maintenance work to do, but one gets that with any property, no matter how old it is. It also works perfectly for the existing team and there is no cost to relocate the business and the upheaval this undoubtable creates for all involved.
There are still some formalities to undertake, including the actual survey on which the mortgage offer will be based and the necessary final financial checks and balances. But IIMS is closing in on the deal.
Murrills House is a Grade II listed building and is believed to have preservation orders on two of the trees in the grounds as well due to their age. A Grade II listed building requires further explanation for those not familiar with the term. It is defined as a UK building or structure that is “of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it”. Grade II is a classification that can be applied to a wide variety of buildings and other structures, in a range of ages, styles and locations. The special listing status means that we have to work closely with the local planning authorities to ensure any maintenance we do is in keeping with the building, its character and age. For example, we now know that some of the glass in the windows is well over 150 years old. We also know that the original chimney builder inscribed his initials in the mortar before it set centuries ago.
IIMS is proud to be in a position to acquire Murrills House, a property so rich in history, and to become the next guardians of a building believed to have its origins in the 1500s. Murrills House is set on a half acre plot, has 20 parking spaces and a large garden area. The building is close to Portchester village and railway station and the nearest motorway junctions are handy too.
There are many old and original features remaining in the property since it has been transformed into office accommodation after the Second World War from the local 7 bedroom manor house it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. There is a rather spooky basement too where, on occasions, sightings of a friendly lady ghost – the Grey Lady – have been made over the years. The original flint retaining wall is still well preserved in places and is little changed for more than a century and a half.
Download and read more about the building’s history: Murrills House Brochure