When in my mid thirties, I took the plunge and bought the Pendley Estate from the lovely Dorian Williams and I located my ever-growing Grass Roots Group teams around that estate. It was an interesting and testing challenge. Linking people, spread over many buildings, to the IBM was just one of them.
Within the grounds was a derelict two-storey stable building designed by a Frenchman in the 1870s. I had an idea that if well converted it would make a splendid HQ and with a local architect set about the task. Listed buildings have their challenges, not least of which is planning permission.
The result was an award-winning and unique space which served as the centre for what was to become a global business. The team, which grew like topsy, loved it and our clients loved it too. Housing more than 100 folk in what is now called a ‘biophilic space’ created an atmosphere of cooperation and fun.
It was given the name ‘Pennyroyal Court’ in a staff and relatives competition, so named because Pennyroyal is a curative herb. I moved talent from other locations in London and it gave people the joy of a great base and a short trip to the nice homes they could afford by being outside the capital.
When I sold the empire five years ago, after a life threatening illness, I kept the building and the theatre. My eldest daughter Daisy took on the challenge of refurbishing the building as a shared office location and did a fantastic job, as you will see from their site. We call it The Home Office, a coworkspace for folk who live locally and love what it represents.
The Home Office now serves a wide community and Members include playwrights, software designers, consultants across many industries and everything in-between. It has been voted ‘Most Unique Co-Working Space Provider’ by SME News two years running. I work from there with my team on all my social ventures. I am proud that a vision more than three decades ago still serves its purpose and proud of my daughter for her creative management of its transformation.