The Wormsley Estate is a 2,500-acre site in the Chiltern Hills, owned by the Getty Family.
In May this year the Buckinghamshire estate will open its gates to a new private members club offering members special access to the site’s sporting and cultural facilities.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Tim Munton, a former Warwickshire and England cricketer who over the past 7 years has developed the cricket and events on the estate, to find out more.
The late Sir Paul Getty was a devotee of all things English, especially cricket. His passion for the sport led him to build a world renowned cricket ground on his estate at Wormsley and an invitation to a John Paul Getty XI fixture became a rare treat for any cricket fan.
Tim Munton commented:
“In the 1990s I was lucky enough to play for the John Paul Getty XI at Wormsley which really was a real treat. After Sir Paul passed away in 2003 the family continued to host a number of matches each year including a number of charity events, mainly cricketing charities. In 2007 the family were looking for someone to take on and develop the cricket events on the estate and also introduce other non-cricket events. At that time I had retired from my professional career and had recently established my own sports marketing and events business, and was delighted to have the opportunity to take a licence to run events on the estate.
“This year we have repositioned how we present the estate to the outside world. We have redesigned our marketing literature giving greater prominence to the non-cricket space and have introduced ‘The Wormsley Club’. The introduction of The Club gives members the opportunity to enjoy all of the amazing facilities on this truly special estate. There are four classic cricket garden parties with The John Paul Getty XI playing against the traditional touring teams, such as The Arabs, IZingari and Sir Tim Rice’s Heartaches CC. There are also a number of private dining events, with all Club events having access to the family’s library and Walled Garden.”
During their time on the estate the Getty family have restored all aspects of the estate considerably including the 18th century Walled Garden. The family have also established an extensive collection of books, manuscripts and bindings in the Wormsley Library. The beautiful library comprises a number of impressive tomes including a 1st Folio of Shakespeare’s work, Anne Boleyn’s prayer book and the first copy of Canterbury Tales from the Caxton press
More recently the estate has become the home of the highly acclaimed Garsington Opera Company and The Islands, which opened in June last year, to house some of the family’s collection of modern sculptures.
The recent development of the infrastructure of the estate has been mostly designed by architect Robin Snell, who designed the Opera Pavilion and the 40 cover Island Pavilion, situated on the lake in the Deer Park. A new marquee has recently been constructed on the estate providing another stunning space for club members and guests to dine. Again Robin Snell designed the structure.
For Garsington Opera, outstanding acoustics were a priority. Acousticians, Sound Space Design and sister-company Anne Minors Performance Consultants collaborated with Robin Snell on the Opera Pavilion with SSD also providing acoustics design advice for The Island Pavilion.
Garsington Opera knew SSD Director Bob Essert from his work on the Winspear Opera House in Dallas Texas. For the Opera pavilion SSD guided Robin Snell in shaping the fabric for excellent opera acoustics. The Islands Pavilion benefits from acoustics optimised for intimate music performances and dining/function use.
Evan Green, Senior Acoustics Consultant for Sound Space Design, said:
“We developed the fabric ceiling as a novel feature that provides a measured degree of sound absorption and also acts as a light diffuser.
“Both projects push the boundaries of acoustics with fabric technology and what you see is the result of detailed, bespoke research and development.
“This research supports our ongoing design work covering acoustics, theatre architecture & planning, audio-video systems design, lighting design and bespoke event planning.”
Club members are able to enjoy hospitality in all of these sporting and cultural facilities within their membership, costing £7,500 per annum,
Tim Munton said:
“The principal of the club is to allow people to enjoy the estate; corporate members can enjoy a range of hospitality without having to book it on an event by event basis. We held a drinks reception at The Getty Images Gallery in April, celebrating with a number of our early adopters and launching the membership to a wider audience.
“The club is an important and exciting step forward for me. I fell in love with the estate as a cricketer and from the 1990’s onwards and have always waxed lyrical about it as an amazing place and one of the most beautiful grounds I’ve ever played on.
“The Wormsley Club allows us to develop a community from our existing and new customers at Wormsley, giving members the opportunity to share their experience of all of the special facilities Wormsley has to offer with clients, friends and family. As ‘The Wormsley Club’ gathers momentum, and membership grows we look forward to developing more great events on the estate.”