Investor transforms landmark building into guesthouse and antiques gallery

Tower House at Halton
Tower House at Halton

At Jonathan Edwards’ house on the banks of the river Lune in Halton, everything’s for sale.

If you stay the night at the Tower House, in Church Brow, which Jonathan has recently converted into a guesthouse and art and antiques gallery, you’re quite welcome to buy the bed you just slept in, or perhaps the dressing table, or one of the mirrors in the bathroom.

And haggling is actively encouraged. If you wanted to, you could walk through the back garden and find yourself fishing on the river Lune within minutes, or if a party is what you’re after, the first floor of this Grade II Georgian faux castle could easily entertain 100 guests.

Not to mention the outdoor hot tub, or hog roast facilities.

In fact Jonathan says he can pretty much tailor activities to suit taste.

Jonathan, 42, recently returned to the area from London following 20 years working in public relations, having decided to invest in a place he has memories of as a child.

He bought the Tower House in August 2011 for £360,000, invested £110,000 and the building is now valued at £750,000.

With a penchant for buying and selling antiques, Jonathan decided that the Tower House would be a unique place to launch a new life and career as “rural host” to those after a taste of relaxed northern countryside living.

Originally from the Carnforth area, Jonathan attended North Road Primary School, then Carnforth High School, before going on to study A-Levels at Lancaster Royal Grammar School.

He remembers hunting expeditions in the Halton area and drinks afterwards at the now derelict White Lion pub across the road.

“I fell in love with it immediately,” said Jonathan.

“It’s a Georgian castle style tower, complete with turrets, and it’s actually very rare in the country.

“It is now the only one of its architectural nature that is open to the public. The top floor has been given a medieval look, and is true to the age of the house, which is around 1740-1800.

The first floor, which is an entertaining space, has a Grand Regency style with the use of primary colours, and the ground floor has a French country cottage feel, with a flagged floor.”

The house, which opens for the first time today, Thursday, has three double bedrooms on the top floor plus a cottage, which is currently rented out, and a double en-suite fishing lodge next to that.

Jonathan hopes to exhibit work by local artists, who he is inviting to get in touch, and has recruited Roger Salmon as artist in residence. Members of the public can book to go and visit the house, browse the exhibitions, and peruse the antiques on offer.

An open house weekend in early February will feature over 500 Persian rugs for sale.

“I think with the economic climate we’ve got at the moment, local business referrals are key,” Jonathan said.

“It’s a way of people keeping in touch with eachother, and it helps the local economy.

“There’s going to be times when I’m full, so I’d like to be able to refer on to other bed and breakfasts in Lancaster, and hopefully vice versa.”

Jonathan said he would also be working with other local traders and artists, using the Tower House as a canvas for displaying interior design work.

He will also be offering his services as a mobile interior design consultant.

He added: “I’ve done a lot of developments over the past 16 years, and I’ve done much trickier jobs than this, but the sheer scale of this place has been the biggest challenge.

“It’s been a bigger job than I thought it was going to be, but the finished job has been worth it, and I’ve learned so much.

“I’m just really looking forward to getting on with things now and figuring out exactly what works.

“In this day and age you’ve got to be flexible.”

Jonathan is also offering free fishing on his section of the river, which has disabled access, for pensioners on a Wednesday on a first come first served basis.

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