Festive market plan for historic house stables restoration project

Kirsty Kershaw and Kate Mace of Leadenham Teahouse are helping to plan the artisan market. EMN-190930-163726001
Kirsty Kershaw and Kate Mace of Leadenham Teahouse are helping to plan the artisan market. EMN-190930-163726001

The first Leadenham Christmas Fair is set to be held on Sunday November 24, designed to kick start a restoration plan to open up the stables linked to an historic country as visitor attraction.

The plan is to hold a festive themed artisan market, serving food, drink (including mulled wine) and live music in the Leadenham House Stables.

A bygone view of Leadenham House estate's drivers and their cars outside the stables. EMN-190930-164739001

A bygone view of Leadenham House estate's drivers and their cars outside the stables. EMN-190930-164739001

The Palladian style Georgian stables built for General John Reeve in 1825 have never before been open to the public, but are set to be renovated into a significant new visitor attraction in 2020.

Leadenham has been the home of the Reeve family since the construction of Leadenham House in 1790 by William Reeve. The new plan is to transform it into a living museum and gallery of local and family history, due to be launched in phases from early 2020, while opening its grounds to the public for events.

William Reeve of Leadenham Estate has been working with Kate Mace and Kirsty Kershaw of the multi-award-winning Leadenham Teahouse and Tom Lane, the organiser of the renowned Leadenham Folk Festival to add the festive market to the region’s Christmas calendar.

Kirsty, co-owner of Leadenham Teahouse said: “We continue to be passionate about rural diversification and small business. So we are truly delighted to be part of the regeneration of Leadenham House and Stables.

Leadenham estate staff - the coachman, keepers and head gardener in 1906. EMN-190930-164750001

Leadenham estate staff - the coachman, keepers and head gardener in 1906. EMN-190930-164750001

“Leadenham House is such an integral part of the history of Leadenham and it is so exciting to allow the public to enjoy its splendour.

“The diversification of the estate is crucial to the rural economic development of the local area.”

Since the glory days when the king hunted at Leadenham to the arrival of the first motor cars in the early 20th century that saw the retirement of the last coachman, Edward Taylor, the Leadenham House Stables has served as a dairy farm and since 2007 has been occupied by Leadenham Polo Club.

Recent years have not been kind to the fabric of the stables and it is now a priority to preserve them and give them a new lease of life as a venue and attraction for tourists and the local community, ensuring their future conservation.

William Reeve said: “Kate and Kirsty are both into artisan markets and sell that sort of thing in their teashop. I have this country pile and the old stables are beautiful, but in severe need of restoration. This is a really good setting for an outdoor event. I would like to do more things in future such as weddings and have more public access to the house as a museum. In the meantime it is an opportunity for local businesses to get involved and boost Leadenham and the surrounding area.”

Katie said: “Our next goal is to really put Leadenham on the map. We are hoping to do this with more events and working together as a community.”