Yorkshire Post - Property
Demolition at Rise Hall is all in the name of progress
RISE Hall was rescued and revived by Sarah Beeny but now it’s demolition time at the gargantuan country house and it’s all in the name of progress.
When Sarah Beeny and her husband, artist Graham Swift, waved a final goodbye to Rise Hall in 2019, there were tears but the couple were happy in the knowledge that they had found the right buyers.
They knew that Daniel and Helen Gill, who own Dine Events, specialising in events, weddings and catering, would continue their legacy of renovating, improving and investing in the huge 97-room mansion and so they have.
The Gills wasted no time in making a start, beginning with improving the wi-fi, installing an enormous chandelier in the entrance and upgrading the bridal suite, morning room, drawing room, ballroom, wi-fi and the water pressure.
They have since continued with redecorating the bar and some of the 31 bedrooms and, along with new decor, there was a focus on making sure the rooms “work properly”.
“By that I mean ensuring the bedside tables are high enough, the sockets are in the right place and there is a mirror where you can see to put make-up on,” says Helen.
The latest project began this month and involves demolishing the derelict refectory added in the 1980s when Rise was a private school for girls run by nuns.
Helen Gill says: “The refectory has been slowly collapsing and threatening the integrity of the hall for a while. Unfortunately, it had no architectural merit and was riddled with asbestos too so demolition was the only option.
“In place of the old refectory, there will eventually be accessible, ground-floor bedrooms for guests.” The start of the property’s new life began when Sarah and Graham bought the Grade II* listed property in the East Riding in 2001.
It was in a parlous state and the couple spent 18 years and a small fortune bringing it back to life.
It was Graham who fell in love with the decaying mansion that had been empty for a decade and, despite Sarah’s better judgement, she agreed they should have it.
Their journey was followed by Channel 4 in the hugely popular TV series Restoration Nightmare.
The house was built between 1815 and 1820 for Richard Bethell. In the 1940s, it was leased to an order of nuns as a fee-paying private school. The nuns handed the keys back to the Bethell family in 1995 and the property continued to slip into dereliction.
When Sarah and Graham left Rise Hall, it had been brought back to life and Sarah told The Yorkshire Post: “It’s been an amazing journey and it took a lot of energy but we love the house and we are leaving with a lot of magical memories.”
They never added up the cost of the work they did, which included fixing an acre of leaking roof and 149 rotting windows.
Daniel and Helen Gill did their sums and knew what they were taking on as they had been involved as advisers and event organisers at Rise Hall since
2010, during which time they had grown to love the house.
Secluded and set in 30 acres, it is big and grand but, says Helen Gill: “It feels really warm and friendly. A lot of the old girls who were here when it was a school have been to see it since we took over and one of them said ‘Rise Hall hugs you’ and that’s exactly what it does.”