Aerial View Hopwood Hall

Part of an historic hall being renovated by a former Hollywood film producer is to open to the public for the first time in years. The 600-year-old Hopwood Hall in Middleton is being painstakingly brought back to life by American actor and director Hopwood DePree. 

He left his home in LA in five years ago to restore the Grade II-listed building, which his English ancestors are said to have founded in the 12th Century. Now Mr DePree has written a book – Downton Shabby: One American’s Ultimate DIY Adventure Restoring His Family’s English Castle – chronicling his attempts to save the hall from ruin.

And to celebrate its publication a picnic will be held on the lawn of the hall on Saturday (June 18), which will include the opening of part of the hall. In an interview with the BBC Mr DePree told how while there’s still a long way to go to save the crumbling 60-bed mansion, work is progressing apace. 

One wing that was at risk of collapse has just been stabilised, and around 25 tonnes of slate have been put on the roof to make the building watertight. Me Depree said: “If people looked at it, they would say, oh my gosh, you have so long to go. But I know where we started, and we are getting there.”

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