A message from the Chair
Dear Members and Friends
You will probably have been bombarded over the last few weeks with messages from a whole range of organisations telling you how they are planning to cope with the current COVID-19 crisis. But I wanted to take this opportunity not just to tell you how we are keeping the EES on the road, but also about some important decisions that EES Trustees have taken about our future.
First, I know you will be reassured to hear that most of our activities are continuing as normal, thanks to all of our staff working hard directly from home. Although our Doughty Mews office is closed until further notice, Carl and his colleagues have launched a number of new initiatives to keep members informed and engaged until we can open up again. I hope you are already aware of the series of lectures now available through our Zoom account and detailed here.
Our enforced shift to home-working came at a particularly busy time, as our annual subscriptions come up for renewal. I want to thank all of you who have prioritised renewing these at a time when all of us are naturally rather preoccupied on other matters. Getting all those subscriptions in is absolutely essential for our cash flow, so if any of you haven’t yet renewed yet may I ask you to take a moment and do so right away using the usual , or by using the downloadable membership forms available on those pages.
But I also have some very important news for all members and friends and for everyone who cares about our future. As you will probably know, the difficult decision was taken two or three years ago to put our Doughty Mews premises on the market, with the intention to use a substantial amount from the proceeds to find ourselves a home with better facilities for members and for staff. We know that that decision was unpopular with many members. As we entered 2020, and after two years of negotiating with potential purchasers, it became clear to us that any sale would not raise sufficient capital to secure us a long term home in a location which would be viable for staff and members. Trustees have therefore taken the decision to take Doughty Mews off the market. We have incurred no marketing costs. The remaining prospective buyer understood our reasons and was gracious in helping us to withdraw.
The Society’s office and library (above) will remain in central London if funds permit the redevelopment of Doughty Mews into an accessible and safe environment for staff, visitors, and our collections.
This gives us both opportunities and big challenges. We can now declare that the EES will remain in central London, close to other institutions with whom we have close working relationships - a decision which gives our staff certainty and many loyal members reassurance. But the premises are simply not fit for purpose in their current condition, and there is a serious structural issue caused by trees on an adjoining property - an issue which simply must now be resolved.
The bottom line is that we do not currently have the reserves to make the changes necessary to turn Doughty Mews into an efficient place to work, a safe repository for our archive and a welcoming place for members and researchers to visit. So in the coming months we must find new ways of raising very significantly more money. Even if we were to spend not a single penny on our premises we are simply not able to continue the crucial work of the EES year after year as our revenue slowly declines and fails to keep pace with our costs.
Individual members and friends can help in any number of ways: by without delay; by recruiting friends and colleagues to join the EES; by making a donation - large or small - and adding to it with Gift Aid and by remembering the EES when it comes to .
So my messages are simple. That the work of the EES goes on more or less undisturbed by the current national emergency. That we will be back and open for business just as soon as government restrictions allow. That Doughty Mews will remain the home of the Egypt Exploration Society. And that we need your help to ensure it stays that way for many years to come.
Thank you for your support. Keep safe and well, follow our online activity, and once we are open again we will hope to see you soon.
With my very best wishes,
Chair, EES Board of Trustees