Years of neglect after the Second World War left Bylaugh Hall in tatters, but now the stately home is rising from the ashes and is set to become a landmark in private household domestic training – a butler school.
The original building was designed by the same architect who produced the drawings for the Houses of Parliament and the well-known Highclere Castle, the filming location for Downton Abbey. Now, help is at hand to rejuvenate it back to its youthful years with the help of the experts behind The Lady magazine – owner and publisher Ben Budworth and director Helen Robinson.
The pair plan to convert the 74-bedroomed mansion into a unique and beautifully located training school for private household staff including butlers, chauffeurs and chalet girls.
Commenting on the exciting plans for the Grade II-listed building and proposed school, Miss Robinson told the Eastern Daily Press: “There is the Norland nannies training centre but nothing residential for domestic staff.”
Mr Budworth continued: “We were keen to move here rather than be in London as it is quiet and secluded and lends itself to training perfectly.
“The role of the butler is quite different to that of 100 years ago. They need to be as competent with a computer as they are with a carving knife and the boundaries between upstairs and downstairs have changed but the demand is bigger than ever.”
After negotiating with seven different administrators and beating off competition from 25 other bidders, the pair finally got the keys to the mansion, but say there is still a lot of work to do before the business is up and running.
Included in the £1.5 million asking price is a massive 17,000 acres of land, which will contribute to their plans for additional holiday lets and an added restaurant.