One-time West Sussex home of Lord Woolton, the man credited with “keeping the nation fed” during World War II, is for sale; it also belonged to the Kleinwort banking family and has gardens by Gertrude Jekyll
The man responsible for ensuring the British populous were fed throughout World War II did so by encouraging them to eat “steak and kidney pie without the steak and kidney”. Salford born Frederick Marquis – later Lord Woolton as he could not be made “Baron Marquis” – was Minister of Food between 1940 and 1943 and in April 1941 took an advert in The Times to promote what he called ‘The Lord Woolton Pie’.
Consisting of boiled diced vegetables and the creation of The Savoy Hotel’s maître chef, François Latry, the simple dish was nutritious and could be easily adapted to reflect the seasonal availability of ingredients. It did not prove exactly popular but as part of Woolton’s catchy ‘Waste Not, Want Not’, ‘Eat Your Greens’ and ‘Grow Your Own’ campaigns, is remembered as a mainstay dish of the years of rationing.
After the war, Woolton (1883 – 1964), a key executive of the now defunct Liverpool based Lewis’s department store chain between 1928 and 1951, decided to move to West Sussex and bought a house named Chownes Mead just outside the market village of Cuckfield. That house – which is now for sale for £5.75 million ($7.17 million, €6.77 million or درهم26.33 million) down from £6.25 million ($7.79 million, €7.38 million or درهم28.62 million) when it was launched to the market last September – was built between 1912 and 1920 for the newly wealthy Kleinwort banking family and had been used by the Canadian army as a maternity hospital during the war.
Lord Woolton sold Chownes Mead in 1955 at auction and in the time since it has had only two other owners. Sold last in 2011 with a guide price of £3.5 million in 2011 (the equivalent of £3.9 million, $4.9 million, €4.6million or درهم17.8 million today) when it came with some 30 acres of land, the property now stands in just 20.5 acres and is being marketed minus one of its cottages. The renovated Grade II listed main house provides a total of 11,745 square foot of accommodation with 8 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms and in addition there are two cottages in a converted coach house and a garage block with a flat above.
Selling agents Savills don’t ration their words in their marketing literature. They repeatedly describe the property as “exceptional” and wax lyrical of how it exudes the “undisturbed atmosphere of an altogether gentler age; a peaceful place from which to escape the busy outside world”.
The full recipe for the Lord Woolton Pie follows:
Take 1lb, each diced, of potatoes, cauliflower, swedes and carrots, three or four spring onions – if possible, one teaspoonful of vegetable extract, and one tablespoonful of oatmeal. Cook all together for 10 minutes with just enough water to cover. Stir occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking. Allow to cool; put into a pie dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and cover with a crust of potato or wheatmeal pastry. Bake in a moderate oven until the pastry is nicely browned and serve hot with a brown gravy.