Lancastrians Toast ‘The Queen, The Duke of Lancaster!’

HMQ 90th Birthday_052HMQ 90th Birthday_148            The Duchy of Lancaster was delighted to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday in the company of the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, representatives of the Queen’s Own Yeomanry, and cadets from Stonyhurst College at Lancaster Castle on 21st April 2016.

At a private reception in the Castle Courtyard, guests were entertained by the Lancaster Royal Grammar School Band and a trumpet fanfare to announce the lighting of a rooftop beacon on top of the historic John O’Gaunt Gate. The beacon was one of a chain of similar beacons lit across the British Isles in celebration of Her Majesty’s birthday. The Queen’s Own Yeomanry and a unit of cadets formed the guard of honour for the Lord-Lieutenant as Her Majesty’s representative in the county.

Following a warm welcome from the CEO of the Duchy of Lancaster, Nathan Thompson, Lord Shuttleworth KCVO read a message of support from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales before lighting the beacon. The Lord-Lieutenant then went to on to propose the traditional Lancastrian toast at the closure of the ceremony, following the singing of the National Anthem.

Her Majesty The Queen is not only the longest reigning British Monarch, but also the longest serving Duke of Lancaster, having acceded to the Dukedom when She came to the throne in 1952.

Commenting on the celebrations, Duchy CEO Nathan Thompson said: “It seemed entirely fitting that we should mark the occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday in this historic Castle with a reception to celebrate the close links that the Duchy of Lancaster has with this city. Lancaster is often said to be at the heart of the Duchy – and the Castle is at the heart of the city.”

Since the Castle was decommissioned as a working prison in 2011, the historic buildings have been fully investigated by architectural historians and archaeologists and a programme of restoration works initiated to protect and preserve the Castle for future generations.

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Fine Dining At New Oxford House, Birmingham

Adams Restaurant - Birmingham Copyright - Richard Southall
Adams Restaurant – Birmingham
Copyright – Richard Southall

One of Birmingham’s finest dining establishments has taken up residence at New Oxford House on Waterloo Street, in the heart of the city centre.

After taking 5,600 sq ft of accommodation in the Art Deco building in the summer of last year, husband and wife team Adam and Natasha Stokes commissioned a major refurbishment of the premises to create a series of intimate, stylish and contemporary spaces for diners.

The refurbishment was completed early in 2016 and Adam’s is now one of the city’s most sought-after eating establishments, after receiving widespread critical acclaim. The restaurant has been awarded a Michelin Star, three AA Rosettes and a score of 7 in the Good Food Guide, as well as being rated Number 1 Restaurant in the UK by Trip Advisor.

Commenting on the newly refurbished restaurant and offices, the Duchy’s Head of Urban Mike Andrews said: “New Oxford House is a 1930s building in the centre of Birmingham’s financial and commercial district. The arrival of Adam’s has breathed new life into the ground floor and created a social hub for the local business community while attracting new visitors from across the country. We are delighted to welcome Adam and Natasha as our tenants and look forward to watching the continued growth and success of the business and the ongoing regeneration of this area of the city.”

Chef patron Adam Stokes added: “We thought long and hard about the best possible location for our restaurant and were delighted when we found that there was space available in this lovely landmark building. We now have enough space to provide a good-sized dining room with additional intimate spaces for private dining, and room to grow the business. Everything is designed to reflect the architectural heritage of the building and provide the perfect environment for a relaxing and convivial dining experience.”

The 36-cover dining room at Adam’s serves an ‘a’ la carte menu alongside the signature tasting menu and a weekday lunch menu. A private dining room is available for more intimate gatherings of up to 16 guests and there is a new Chef’s Table located within the kitchen environment which is also available for private hire for smaller groups.

New Oxford House is managed by commercial property agents, KWB Property Management Services.

For further information on Adam’s restaurant, to reserve a table or enquire about private bookings, please visit the website

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Financial Analyst Joins Duchy Team

Marcel Desmily Option A  The Duchy of Lancaster has appointed a senior Financial Analyst to strengthen its finance team and to spearhead the drive for the highest quality management information systems, as well as providing valuable support to the Duchy’s operational functions. Marcel Desmily joins the organisation after four years with General Electric where he was Senior Portfolio Analyst for its Real Estate and Operations Services. Prior to General Electric, Marcel supported the EMEA team at GE Capital Real Estate and worked at Investment Property Databank.

A graduate of Queen Mary’s College London, Marcel originally studied Mathematics and Statistics with Finance, before going on to complete a Masters degree in Real Estate Investment at Cass Business School.

Commenting on the appointment, Duchy Chief Executive Nathan Thompson said: “First-class business information systems are critical to any business. We have spent the last few years putting a lot of these systems in place and ensuring that the needs of the Duchy are both met and well placed for the future. Marcel’s skills and experience will help the management team to build on this, as we continue to grow the business organically and diversify our revenue streams.”

The Duchy of Lancaster is a historic portfolio of land and property assets which began as an ancient inheritance over 750 year ago. It generates a private income for the Sovereign, while protecting long-term capital values for future Dukes of Lancaster.

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Duchy Invests in Agriculture

Lower Castle Hayes barn.  The Duchy of Lancaster has invested over £61,000 in the development of a new steel-frame livestock building at Lower Castle Hayes Farm on the Needwood Estate in Staffordshire. The new barn replaces the former traditional wooden Dutch barn which was no longer fit for purpose in terms of providing adequate shelter.

Tenant farmer Philip Smith and his son Matthew have successfully grown their dairy business over the last 20 years and currently manage a herd of 300 Holsteins and Montbeliarde cross cows at Lower Castle Hayes near Tutbury. Generating an average of 10,000 litres of milk per annum, they have led the way in terms of livestock management, applying the latest farming techniques and methodologies to their business.

Commenting on the new structure, Philip Smith said: “We are delighted to see the new barn up as we pride ourselves on ensuring the very best conditions for our livestock. The 635m2 structure provides better shelter, more space and allows us to build on the investment we made in accommodation for the herd in 2007.”

Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow added: “The dairy industry is under significant pressure at present and we are pleased to work with our tenants to help identify opportunities to improve efficiency, profitability and the environment for their herd.”

The Duchy of Lancaster owns 24 tenanted farms across Staffordshire, all of which are located on the 3,000-hectare Needwood Estate.

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Ted’s Grooming Room Open For Business

Ted's Grooming Room exterior         Ted's Grooming Room interior 1      Brettenham House on the Strand received an executive facelift this month with the arrival of the Ted Baker Grooming Room at 19 Lancaster Place on 10th March.

The new arrival was enthusiastically received by the Northbank’s business community, many of whom enjoyed complimentary drinks and sample treatments to celebrate the opening.

The retail unit, which was formerly a novelty gift shop, has undergone an extensive interior refit and redecoration inside and out. The overall décor pays homage to the broadcasting history of the Strand, and features appropriately themed artefacts and design elements, as well as media streaming to keep waiting clients occupied. The treatments themselves feature the traditional Turkish barbering and grooming skills that Ted Baker has brought to the capital in other locations, including Covent Garden, Holborn, Fitzrovia and Mayfair.

Commenting on the new arrivals, Duchy Head of Urban, Mike Andrews said: “Ted Baker is a well-regarded brand and male grooming is more popular than ever, so this is a real addition to the neighbourhood. The design team has done an excellent job with the space, making a trip to this particular barber shop a real experience. It’s no surprise that all of the chairs have been full since the Grooming Room opened its doors and I have no doubt that it will prove increasingly popular in the months ahead.”

Brettenham House is an imposing Art Deco building which overlooks the River Thames on the west side of Lancaster Place. Owned by the Duchy of Lancaster since it was built in the 1930s, it forms part of the historic Savoy Estate. Other tenants of Brettenham House include Camelot Group, Blackberry UK, Worldstores and Accsys Technologies. The building adjoins the administrative headquarters of the Duchy of Lancaster at 1 Lancaster Place.

For further information on the Ted Baker Grooming Room, or to book an appointment, please visit

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