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Lancashire Life Luncheon - Eaves Hall, West Bradford, Clitheroe

PUBLISHED: 00:08 03 July 2013 | UPDATED: 22:02 21 October 2015

Roast Cannon of Lamb

Roast Cannon of Lamb

Archant

It’s a miniature Downton Abbey without the stuffiness or the starched collars. It was also the location for our Lancashire Life luncheon. Photography: Kirsty Thompson

It has to be one of Lancashire’s grandest houses and if you have seen the Great Gatsby and feel inspired to recreate one of those opulent parties, this would be the perfect spot. Yet, Eaves Hall remains a mystery to most.

Owner James Warburton and his hardworking team are changing all that – and they started spreading the word by staging a Lancashire Life reader lunch, attended by civic heads from Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley.

This remarkable building, surrounded by 13 acres of glorious gardens and lush parkland, is found along a country lane near the picture postcard villages of Waddington and West Bradford.

Its imposing exterior is deceptive. Step inside and you are greeted by a grand piano, oak paneling and fluted columns but it has a relaxed, almost intimate atmosphere that doesn’t feel like a hotel.

The truth is Eaves Hall is no conventional hotel. ‘You could describe it as the ultimate party palace,’ says James, whose team also run successful establishments such as Mitton Hall near Whalley, and the Royal Hotel in Kirkby Lonsdale. They have spent the last two years upgrading Eaves Hall and turning it into an exclusive event location with the main focus on weddings.

It has been a big job but his team has been equal to it. ‘I have so many great people working for me,’ he adds.

There are no production line nuptials here – with 30 bedrooms, you can have the house entirely to yourself and your guests. There is even a ‘mini Eaves’ lodge where the bride can spend her last night of ‘freedom.’

They can also accommodate family parties and corporate activities – with all that oak paneling, you can think inside the box, jokes James. Public events and charity balls are also up for consideration.

‘If you want to stage that Great Gatsby party with 100 guests that’s fine,’ he says. ‘Or if there are 20 of you who want the place to yourselves that’s OK, too. We can even make the house over to a couple, complete with butler and housekeeper – just like a mini Downton.

‘Our aim is to breathe life into this old girl and one of her strong points is the incredible flexibility and adaptability of the house.’

As well as 30 bedrooms and a grand entrance hall, Eaves has a ballroom, living rooms, dining room, an attractive bar and a splendid games room with full-size snooker table.

Outside, there is a mini golf course and bowling green. And the food, as guests to the Lancashire Life lunch will confirm, is top class.

Eaves Hall had several owners and all of them looked after the place. It was the wartime HQ of Brooke Bond (locals swear they kept the PG Tips chimps here), home to an exclusive civil service club and, most recently, a conventional hotel run by a rather unconventional hotelier.

The last person to use it as a home was Edward Burton who spent today’s equivalent of £13 million on the place. His first wife died within two years and he was remarried to a women who didn’t like the Lancashire climate and made him move south.

‘If only the second Mrs Burton could see the place today and realise the terrible mistake she made,’ laughs James.

Eaves Hall, Eaves Hall Lane, West Bradford, near Clitheroe BB7 3JG.01200 425271. eaveshall.co.uk

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