Sarah Beeny says goodbye to Rise Hall.
PUBLISHED: 00:00 27 June 2019
Property expert shared her renovation ‘nightmare’ with the nation but it’s now in safe hands, as Kathryn Armstrong discovers.
Rise Hall has definitely been the stuff of memories for Sarah Beeny and her husband, artist Graham Swift.
Many a nightmare too, as shared with the nation when she documented the restoration of Georgian Rise Hall, the impressive, but at the time unloved, East Yorkshire stately home on the Channel 4 series, Sarah Beeney's Restoration Nightmare.
That was a long time - and a tribe of children - ago. The couple took on Rise Hall in 2001 where they undertook an epic restoration to save it from dereliction.
'We were right to do it at the time we did. It really was a labour of love,' says Sarah.
'It's been really fun but after a while we knew that we had to do something other than just have parties here', she laughs. "Without a purpose a place like this has no means of existing. When we bought it, it was widely considered that there was no purpose for it and we set out to prove people wrong. We showed that it could be a successful wedding venue.'
'People don't come here to have a miserable time, it is the best house in the world to have a party', adds Graham.
The 97-room property has acres of space, including, famously, the gymnasium, from its days as a school, now a light-festooned banqueting hall, and its own bar.
It has been a thrilling family home for Sarah's family of boys: 'They ran free here. I asked them what they would miss and they all said scootering around the house!'
With a huge passion for British Heritage, the pair relished the opportunity to not only rescue an important 'at risk' building but to also create a sustainable future for it.
'Historic England list 705 historic buildings that are currently 'at risk' in England", says Sarah. Many of these buildings aren't appealing to investors because they won't turn a quick profit. The only way to ensure the survival of important buildings such as these is to give them a different purpose for the way in which we live today.'
Now, with a new build project on the go in Somerset and to be close to relatives, they have decided to finally sell Rise Hall.
The new owners are good pals though. Rise Hall will be taken over by Leeds-based hospitality entrepreneurs Daniel and Helen Gill, with Stuart Ward remaining the resident manager.
When they were looking to develop Rise Hall as a venue, Sarah and Graham went to a wedding where they were wowed by the food. They asked who the caterers were - and it was Dine, owned by Daniel and Helen.
'We are thrilled to be passing it on to Dan and Helen who we feel are the perfect fit for such a very special place,' says Sarah.
'Rise Hall has been a big part of our lives for the last 18 years and we are extremely proud of the work that we, together with an incredible team, have achieved to date, but it's time to move on.
The fully restored Grade 2* listed Hall will now begin a new chapter in its life.'
Dan and Helen will continue to operate the 29- bedroom building as a luxury wedding and events venue alongside other Dine venues including flagship The Mansion at Roundhay Park in Leeds.
Dan Gill said: 'Rise Hall is a stunning building with a rich history which will now begin a new chapter in its life under our guardianship. This is the first venue that Helen and I own outright.'