Friday, May 30, 2014

Carole and Anthony Bamford at Daylesford

An aerial view of Daylesford, Gloucestershire.
Image via Victory by Design.
Daylesford is considered by many to be the quintessential English country house.  Previous posts of The Devoted Classicist featured the house here, here, and here. For a look at the historic 1500 acre Cotswolds estate Daylesford today, we consider the present owners Anthony Bamford and his wife Carole.  Not known to many in the United States, the billionaire Lord and Lady Bamford live the lifestyles of the rich and famous at their multiple residences which includes the 17th century Wootton Lodge on 4,500 well-cared-for acres in Staffordshire (which had been bought by his father).
Wootton Lodge, Staffordshire.
Anthony Bamford was knighted in 1990 at the age of 45 and was elevated to the House of Lords in 2013, and created a Life Peer, taking the title Baron Bamford.  Carole Bamford was awarded The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2006 for her philanthropic work for children through the Lady Bamford Charitable Trust.

The courtyard at the Daylesford Organic Farm Shop.
Photo collage from Berry Diaries blog.
Converting the family farms in Staffordshire and Gloucestershire into utilizing organic responsible farming based on traditional methods, Lady Bamford opened Daylesford Organic farmshop and café on the estate in 2002.  Now there are also Daylesford shops in Surrey, on Pimlico Road and in Nottinghill, London, and a concession in Selfridges Food Hall plus an outpost in Japan.  The Bamford brand, launched in 2006, sells natural fiber clothing and natural products for body, baby, and home. 

There are several cottages
on the estate that can be booked
for lodging.  This one is apparently called
the Wood Store, reflecting its previous use..
Photo collage from Daylesford Organic Farm.
Both Bamfords serve on the board of directors of the family business, JCB, founded by his father J.C. Bamford.  Employing around 10,000 people, according to Wikipedia, there are eight plants in Staffordshire, two in Wrexham, one in Derbyshire, a factory in Savannah, Georgia, one in Brazil, three in India, one in China and one in Germany.  According to the JCB website there are 2,000 dealers world-wide to provide 300 products related to construction and agricultural equipment.
The fantastic scale of the Orangery
is revealed in comparison to the tent
set up to celebrate the wedding of a neighbor's daughter.
Photo by NYSD.
Other than some publicity for the Daylesford and Bamford brands, Lady Bamford is reluctant to give interviews, but a good example of putting out the good word (with photos) can be found in the story published in the December 8, 2013, issue of The Independent, which can be read here.  The Bamfords bought Daylesford in 1988 for a reported $22 million, and as Viscount Rothermere had done earlier, hired the interior design firm Colefax and Fowler (now known as Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler Interior Design and Decoration).  Sweeping away the decoration done by Mongiardino for Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, there was a return to the 18th century style established by architect Samuel Pepys Cockerell and owner Warren Hastings.  Again Daylesford was furnished with important 18th-century English furniture and art, including many items original to Hastings' inventory.

A fragment of the original wallpaper border from the Warren Hastings
era was reproduced by Colefax and Fowler for Daylesford.
Image from the Victoria & Albert Museum collection.
As far as this writer could determine, the Bamford interiors of Daylesford have never been published, even without the location being identified.  (Perhaps Devoted Readers can offer some insight, however).  There have been a few photos of the garden, but a request for more shots to accompany a December, 2007, article in W Magazine was met with the protests.  "'We can't show everything!' she says in her rather high-pitched, clipped voice.  A bit of a standoff follows.  Her initial concession: 'You can take a picture of this artichoke,' she says, perfectly serious."

Proposed alterations under the
entrance court at Daylesford.
Image via public documents.
Although Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza was known to have an interior swimming pool at Daylesford, an ingenious scheme to add a new swimming pool facility was proposed in 2005 that would also include a Mechanical Room, a 16-seat Cinema, a Gym and separate male and female Saunas and Changing Rooms.  With minimal interface to the original structure of the historic house, the addition, presumed to have been approved, was created from the excavations below the existing motor court entrance, with essentially no evidence of the new construction.

A bird's eye view of Daylesford
commissioned by the Bamfords from country
house & gardens painter Jonathan Myles-Lea.
Image via
Living in the country is aided by their private helicopter, one of the largest in England (used by Lord Bamford for his daily commute to his factory in Staffordshire and sometimes loaned to neighbor Prince Charles).  There is a private jet and a 240-foot yacht, The Virginian previously owned by John Kluge.  In addition to Daylesford and Wootton, there is a London mansion and a wine-producing seaside estate in Provence, Chateau de Leoube.  The next post of The Devoted Classicist will feature the Bamfords' home in Barbados, Heron Bay, the legendary beachfront villa formerly owned by Marietta and Ronald Tree (ex-husband of Nancy Lancaster).


  1. Although Wikipedia shows "elevation to the Lords" as August 2013 and "created a Life Peer" as October 2013, the two are the same - Bamford would have been elevated to the Lords *by* being created a Life Peer. The only thing I can think is that he was introduced (to the House) in the October.

    Anyhoo, that pedantry aside, the aerial view is very revealing, with the ha-ha in the foreground.

    1. Columnist, thank you for the clarification. I was not sure why she was not referred to as a Dame or a Baroness, and there seems to be fewer people, in this country anyway, up on this. In addition to showing more of the house, I was happy, too, that the aerial view revealed a ha-ha.

    2. Lady Bamford, (never Lady Carole Bamford in her case) only has a "courtesy title", as a result of being his wife. If her father had been a duke, marquess or an earl, she would have been Lady Carole X, and even after marrying Bamford before he received a title, Lady Carole Bamford. A minefield designed to confuse.

  2. MadaboutinteriorsJune 1, 2014 at 1:18 AM

    You might be relieved to hear that the Bamfords have largely reinstated the Fowler scheme, i believe with the help of Imogen Taylor, his last assistant.


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