A chance encounter in Lindley led to a dilapidated former children’s home being transformed into a luxury hotel with bars, restaurants ... and much more.
Entrepreneur Sara Presley, originally from the historic spa city of Bath, was out running one day four or five years ago when she jogged past the crumbling remains of a Grade II listed Georgian period property which was the formerly Fieldhead Children’s Home on Lidget Street.
Intrigued by its potential for development, the furniture designer who has business interests in China, determined to find out more and ended it up buying it with her husband Mike, an expert in fabrics.
Now, finally, their dream is taking shape after two years of hard work and ploughing £4.5m into Manor House.
The former Victorian mill owner and philanthropist’s residence has undergone a radical transformation, restoring the building to include 11 individually designed bedrooms, two restaurants and three bars. A roof terrace bar has also been created, giving views of neighbouring St. Stephens Church.
Its opening has seen 30 jobs being created with a further 20 recruits expected to join the business by the end of the year. Already the venue has attracted high profile staff, many with backgrounds in luxury hotels across the UK.
The hope is that it will become one of the leading boutique events venues in the north of England with multiple weddings and events for 2018 and beyond. Many have been booked months in advance of the Manor House’s official opening.
Its Clock Tower Lounge opened recently while the Lantern Room restaurant and rooms opened from Sunday (April 15) and the Coach House which will host weddings and events will be fully operational from May.
General manager Mark Ayre said: “We are very pleased with our reception so far and the plan is for the second phase of the development, which will see it all opened, take place by the end of May.
“Sara and Mike are very pleased with how it’s going. I don’t think she quite realises what she has created and how special it is!
“Some of our staff have worked in some very high profile five star hotels and restaurants in London and across the country and are delighted to find what we have here.
“For example, our head pastry chef, Nathania Brandon, spent nine years at The Ritz and this place took her breath away.
“The Easter weekend when we opened for Afternoon Tea was just incredible for us. I have experienced other openings when you have had 30 staff just standing around but on this occasion it was certainly not like that but was very much full on.
“It is a pleasure to open our doors to such a wonderful reception from the local community who have been exceptionally patient and supportive during the renovations.
“We are extremely proud of what has been created at the Manor House and with such a unique offering, we expect to welcome visitors from far and wide to the area.”