New business plans for oldest house in Barney
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A MUM and daughter have unveiled ambitious plans after buying one of Barnard Castle’s most historic buildings.
Louise and Eleanor Dinnes took occupation of grade I-listed Blagraves, on The Bank, last week and hope initially to open it as an antiques, interiors and decor shop, along with a bar lounge and cafe.
Daughter Eleanor said: “It is such a historic and prominent building in Barnard Castle and we are ecstatic to be part of its nearly 500-year history.
“The history of the building is incredible. With its links to Oliver Cromwell and having been the location of the ropemakers that crafted the ropes for the first British expedition of Everest – it really is a building to behold.”
The pair plan an extensive renovation of the building, but are hoping to open as a business by August.
It is a return to the area for the pair as Eleanor attended Barnard Castle School, where she developed a love for history – hence she was overjoyed when the opportunity to own such an historic building came along.
Eleanor, a former teacher, said: “We will be undergoing an extensive redecoration of the ground floor rooms, courtyard and banqueting hall to bring the history of the building to life. This will have an eccentric Dickensian feel with a cafe serving something new for Barney.”
Mum Louise will be bringing her extensive catering experience to the business, as she continues to own The Black Swan, in Ravenstonedale, Cumbria, which is an AA rosette hotel and restaurant. Future plans are to convert the first floor into a restaurant serving locally sourced evening meals.
Eleanor said: “Pending planning and listed building consent we additionally hope to open fabulous rooms in the near future so that everyone can have the opportunity to share a night soaking up the centuries of history the building has seen.”
Blagraves has a rich history and was once gifted by Richard III to Joan Forest ,whose husband Miles Forest, Keeper of King’s Wardrobe, was reputed to have disposed of the two young princes at the Tower of London.
The new owners are inviting people to visit the building.
Eleanor said: “When you’re passing and the door is open, please pop in and see what we’re doing. We are big history buffs and would love to collect pictures of Blagraves from the Victorian era – if you have any you would like us to use we would love to see them and showcase them in our interiors.”
Former owners Ken and Elizabeth Marley are pleased that the new owners share their love for the building.
The couple became the key holders of the oldest house in Barnard Castle in 1988.
Mr Marley said: “When we first came, we knew this was a special building and we have enjoyed our time here. We have just been custodians and now we are handing the baton over.
“We want to say thank you to staff past and present and the people who have supported us over the years – it has been brilliant.”
The couple and daughter Lois bade a fond farewell to the 15th century building last Tuesday and intend to stay local to the area.
Mr Marley added: “It is a new chapter in our lives and we’re looking forward to trying out new things.”
People who have past pictures of the building can email Eleanor Dinnes at bleak
email@example.com or ring 07852 552249.