A full heap of trouble! How did TV’s Ruth Watson extremity this family’s Cornish mansion from crumbling to pieces? With drastic action – and immoderate very reliable love...
Updated: 17:30 EDT, 11 March 2011
Georgina Le Grice is nary alien to scary stories, acknowledgment to her occupation arsenic a London-based literate agent. But she ne'er expected to find herself successful one, astatine her family’s Cornish mansion, Trereife House. The picturesque 18th-century spot was falling apart, and location was nary money to prevention it.
‘I moved into Trereife House erstwhile I was conscionable two,’ says Georgina, 24, ‘and my aged grandma moved out. It had 80 acres of land, 14 rooms and six enormous, ornate bedrooms. We ne'er had heating, and I went to furniture successful wintertime successful layers of apparel and pinch 2 duvets. But I didn’t mind, because I loved nan house.’
From a young age, Georgina knew she and her younger relative Peter, 23, were heirs to an property pinch a singular history. The location has been location to nan Le Grice family since 1798.
Saviour: Ruth Watson astatine Trereife House successful Penzance pinch Tim, Peter, Georgina and Elizabeth Le Grice
But procreation aft procreation was deed by crippling decease duties and moving costs.
In 1982, it was inherited by Georgina’s begetter Tim, who runs a rule firm. He moved his wife, Liz, and their 2 children successful a fewer years later.
With moving costs of £40,000 a twelvemonth to meet, Tim, now 68, poured money into a bid of projects that proved disastrous. A gypsy caravan taxable park, a zoo and a edifice each grounded to thrive and alternatively ran up sizeable debts.
By nan opening of past year, nan location – and nan family – were battling to enactment afloat.
It was past that Georgina, whose profession arsenic a literate supplier successful London was flourishing, realised conscionable really bad things were. She says, ‘I wanted to help, but didn’t cognize which measurement to turn. I had seen Country House Rescue before, and hoped Ruth Watson mightiness beryllium capable to springiness america immoderate answers.’
But could Ruth, a millionaire hotelier and businesswoman who does to crumbling state piles what Gordon Ramsay does to failing restaurants, prevention nan family home?
The first gathering successful May past twelvemonth was a disaster.
Beautiful B&B: With moving costs of £40,000 a twelvemonth to meet, nan Le Grices person had to move their location into a hotel
After inspecting nan house, Ruth gave nan family her assessment. She suggested a large-scale furniture and meal business, but erstwhile Georgina’s mother Liz, 62, was unwilling to help, Ruth wasn’t champion pleased. Georgina recalls, ‘Ruth suggested that Mum springiness up her occupation arsenic a librarian to tally a B&B.
Mum objected and said she wasn’t domestic. Then Ruth snapped backmost with, “I tin spot that from nan measurement you support your house.” Mum held it together while nan cameras were filming, but past she ended up successful floods of tears. I felt perfectly awful.’
But Ruth believes reliable words were needed.
She says, ‘I recovered nan location successful a complete authorities of dilapidation. There were holes successful nan roof, damp throughout, damaged plaster cornices and trees increasing successful nan mediate of nan outbuildings.
It was successful specified a authorities Georgina and her relative were group to inherit a heap of rubbish.’
She group nan family tasks: hole 4 of nan bedrooms for paying guests; analyse nan anticipation of hiring retired luxury yurts for highend camping successful nan walled garden; and organise a literate event, bringing visitors to nan estate.
Before Ruth came to help, I was truthful hopeless I bought 60 scratchcards successful nan dream of a occurrence to prevention my family home. I didn’t triumph a azygous penny
‘In nan extremity nan furniture and meal proceedings was a success,’ says Georgina, ‘with guests saying they loved nan location and camping retired successful nan grounds. We knew location was potential, but Ruth wanted maine to springiness up my occupation successful London and move to Cornwall. At nan aforesaid clip I was offered a promotion – and I felt utterly torn.’
Ruth suggested she dedicate 2 years of her life to motorboat nan B&B, and Georgina agreed.
Work started connected nan renovations, pinch nan family ploughing each penny they could spare into fixing nan tile and making nan 4 bedrooms fresh for paying guests. ‘By nan clip of my past sojourn successful October,’ says Ruth, ‘I was happy that immoderate advancement was being made – but I didn’t cognize really acold nan family would push to make their business work.’
Four months later, and Georgina is yet woman of her manor, while still hanging connected to her career. She arrives successful Cornwall astatine 11pm each Friday, and catches nan 5am train for London connected Mondays. It’s a punishing regime, but 1 which is breathing life into nan family estate.
Weddings are a booming business, and nan furniture and meal rooms are coming on well.
Georgina says, ‘Before Ruth came to thief us, I was truthful hopeless that I bought myself 60 Lottery scratchcards successful nan dream of a occurrence to prevention my family home. I didn’t triumph a azygous penny.
Now, acknowledgment to Ruth, we’ve prepared nan location for a thriving future.’
Country House Rescue, 9pm, Sundays, Channel 4.