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Modern business model helps to protect historic Broughton Hall
For somebody like me who recalls the charming decay which represented Broughton Hall 30 years ago, the magnificence it now displays is jaw-dropping.
It is approaching 30 years since Roger Tempest took on the visionary task of re-invigorating the estate which has been in his family for a mind-boggling 900 years.
It was his dad, Henry, who started the revolution by hiring out one of the estate buildings for offices, but it was Roger who took up the gauntlet to transform the stately home and its bailey property into a business estate that has proved a model for other similar ventures.
Today it employs 600 people in 50 different companies which occupy premises that were once farm buildings along with some new build.
There is an award-winning restaurant, Utopia, essentially for people working on the estate and now it even has its own school – Cherry Tree Children’s Day Nursery – for youngsters whose parents live or work on the estate or even come from further afield.
The water mill buildings are still a working environment and the estate still has the original mortgage documents dating from 1326.
And as the Broughton Hall enterprise has expanded to take on corporate entertainment and become a venue for music festivals and heritage plays, the magnificent house, much of it more than 400 years old, is there to entertain clients or to treat their employees.
Roger, 49, said: “We were nationally well ahead of the game and discovered the power of rural regeneration early.”
One of the latest new ventures is the transformation of one of the more remote buildings on the estate into a into a location for holiday-makers, companies, wedding parties et cetera. Appropriately, it’s called Eden.
Roger, who sees himself as custodian of the estate, added: “Since 1097 there have been 31 generations of Tempests at Broughton and so there is something worthwhile and special to look after and preserve.
“Historic houses and rural estates are an endangered species in many ways nowadays and it is a big challenge in order to make them work effectively, financially and philosophically.
“The idea to turn all the beautiful old buildings into offices evolved primarily in the 1980s and 1990s and what is vital is that we keep re-inventing this and going beyond the buildings to make sure our customers and occupiers are getting what they need in order to run a successful business. We are really ‘office hoteliers’.
“Our own private technology network has made sure we are up to date on modern company bandwidth and security needs. Broughton seems to have a great sense of purpose and has the chance now to survive into the forseeable future.”