The office of Lord Mayor of London – different to the Mayor of London – refers to the leader of the City of London, the Square Mile that is Europe’s financial capital. Dating back in one form or another to the twelfth century, the ups and downs of a multitude of Lord Mayors could provide modern leaders with food for thought.
One in particular is Sir Nathaniel Thorold, who became Lord Mayor of London in the early eighteenth century, even though his country estate, Harmston Hall, was located many hours away in Lincoln. Thorold led a scandal-hit lifestyle on inheriting Harmston and was eventually forced to leave the country, whereupon he travelled to Italy as a kind of penitent in exile. In contrast to its former owner, the Thorold family estate flourished, and through the decades and centuries it has been renovated and improved many times over.
This Grade II listed property situated in rolling countryside, east of the old industrial heartlands of Manchester and Birmingham, covers 14 acres and features considerable parkland and woodland. After ten years of restoration work on the house and garden, Harmston is now on the market for GBP 2.95 million, and is once again seen as one of the best country estates in the Midlands.
After driving through the grounds, past the sculptured water feature, entrance is through a wood-panelled lobby into the grand reception hall, which features a rococo chimneypiece and Georgian fanlight doorways. This elegance sets the tone for the rest of the house, including in the eight finely decorated reception rooms, a modern kitchen and various family rooms. One would imagine that enjoying entertaining guests in such a grand setting is a prerequisite of purchase, something made that much more accommodating with the seven principle bedrooms and four further bedrooms.
Outside there is a swimming pool and a tennis court, and what has been described as “uninterrupted views extending for 50 miles”. As someone born and raised in northern England, perhaps it would be the perfect country hideaway for one of Sir Nathaniel Thorold’s successors, the current and 684th Lord Mayor of London, David Wootton?