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Friday, 27 March 2015

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New owner for Lake District manor house

A Keswick-born entrepreneur is the new owner of one of the Lake District’s most prestigious properties.

Underscar Manor photo
Underscar Manor, near Keswick

Jonathan Brown, 47, has bought Underscar Manor, at Applethwaite, near Keswick, for an undisclosed sum.

The former hotel, which dates back to the 1850s, was converted into a private home in 2010 when it was bought by Russian ogliarch Alexander Mineev. He subsequently passed the Grade II-listed property onto his wife during divorce proceedings.

Mr Mineev was assassinated in Moscow earlier this year, when he was shot 37 times through the window of his car in Moscow.

Miami-based Mr Brown, owner of Maryport’s Grants Smokehouse, was brought up in Keswick and attended the grammar school before leaving, aged 16, to set up his first company in the county.

He said: “I have fond memories of Underscar. The hotel was one of my first customers and I can remember driving up there in an old van to deliver a single box of smoked salmon. I never imagined one day I would be in a position to own it.”

Mr Brown added: “As my business expanded, I frequently stayed there when it was one of the county’s best hotels under Derek and Pauline Harrison and Gordon Evans, and it became a home-from-home.

“I am delighted to be its new owner. It has had a recent troubled past, but it is an honour to be its latest custodian and I am aware of the responsibilities that brings.”

The businessman said he is still “formulating” his exact plans for the property, but is hoping to spend a lot of time there in the future. ”Wherever I am in the world, Keswick always remain my true home,” Mr Brown added.

The property boasts spectacular views from the lower slopes of Skiddaw and has impressive gardens.

As a hotel, it hosted a visit from the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, and was popular with celebrities, including the television presenter Jonathan Dimbleby and the Queen’s photographer John Swanell.


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