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Swarthmoor Hall closure update

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The UK government announced last week a four-stage roadmap to re-open hospitality, accommodation and places of interest, with the plan seeing most being fully reopened by the end of May. Even after re-opening, tight social distancing restrictions would remain in place for the foreseeable future.

We welcomed the announcement and have considered it against a set of criteria: being a safe venue, our staff safety and well-being, and the viability of reopening the hall.

After careful consideration, we feel the size of our facilities and the limitations on numbers being imposed mean that it just wouldn’t be viable or safe to reopen the historic house, café or to run our pilgrimages and education programmes this year. We do, however, intend to continue offering our three self-contained accommodation suites from 12 April 2021.

Whilst we understand that this will be some disappointing news to our loyal customers and Friends, we are intending to use this time well. We will undertake some much-needed heritage conservation work to the old hall.

The work which will last until 2022 will aim to:

  • Remove the current render which is causing long term damage to the oak beans,
  • Replace the unsafe balcony,
  • Do some conservation work to the interiors of the historic hall, including furniture and artefacts.

These projects are part of the preparations to refresh the interpretation of the historic house, in time for Georges Fox’s 400th birthday.

We are also going to take this opportunity to upgrade and extend the size of the carpark. This will include installing an electric charging point, allowing us to offer a greener option and to welcome more visitors in the future. We hope that this will also make the hall more sustainable and viable in the long run.

Our small team of staff will continue to oversee the self-catering lets, upkeep the site and support the refurbishment project.

The Swarthmoor Hall Team

Christmas, New Year and January closure

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Following public health restrictions, Swarthmoor Hall – guest accommodation, Old Hall, the Barn Café, and gardens – are closed for an extended period over the Christmas/New Year holiday. All staff will be on leave from Friday 18 December. The site will remain closed until further notice. You can still book your stay for 2021 on Cottages.com (external link). Wishing you peace, love, and joy this holiday season and throughout 2021.

November closure

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It is with great regret that we have to close Swarthmoor Hall from Thursday 5 November to comply with the national lockdown in England. 

Even though we received great feedback from our guests, who felt comfortable and safe in our self-catering accommodation, we have to close once again.

If you have a booking with us between Thursday 5 November and Wednesday 2 December, please contact our reservation team by email, and they will be able to assist you.

Paul Henderson-Grey, CEO of Quiet Company: “This is another setback in what has been the most challenging year for our company. I’d like to thank our team who went above and beyond to make sure our guest accommodation was safe for everyone. I’d also like to thank guests who stayed with us. It meant a lot to us in these difficult times.”

Like many of you, we try to stay positive. We know there will be better days. In the meantime, you can still book stays for the festive season, and reservations for 2021 are also open on cottages.com.

We wish you all well.

Take care.

The team at Swarthmoor Hall

Update on Swarthmoor Hall

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As many of you know, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to close Friends House and Swarthmoor Hall for a long period in 2020. We have been able to reopen but only partly and under tight restrictions. Unfortunately, this has had a deep impact on our company and our staff. We’re all about getting people together and offering hospitality services. The pandemic has made trade very difficult for us, if not almost impossible.

To ensure that the Quiet Company is still here in the months ahead, we have taken the difficult decision of offering a voluntary redundancy scheme to our staff. This has been a heart-breaking decision to take, and not one we would have envisaged if the survival of the company wasn’t at stake.

As an ethical business, rooted in Quaker values, we decided that our scheme would offer substantially more than the statutory minimum.

Val Brittin, Clerk to the Board of Directors of the Quiet Company, expresses her gratitude to our leaving colleagues:

 “To the many staff who have decided to take voluntary redundancy, we say thank you. Some of you have been here since the start of the company in 2007. You have been committed and have helped us grow and reach new milestones year after year. In the last thirteen years, there hasn’t been one side of the business that didn’t get industry recognition or accreditation. This is all down to you. We’ll be forever grateful.”

The company is going through a storm. These are unprecedented times that call for unprecedented action. The company is reducing its size, but this won’t be enough. We need to adapt and rethink to be able to carry on.

We can’t do that on our own. Paul Henderson-Grey, CEO of the Quiet Company, reasserts the need for support for the events sector:

 “We also need the Government to help us further. We have welcomed the announcement by the Chancellor of a new job scheme. But what our industry really needs is a better dedicated rescue package and representation at government level by a dedicated minister. Hardly any other sector has been impacted to the core like ours.”

As the Quiet Company, what we do goes beyond events and hospitality. What we do is provide a vital income to the charity of Quakers in Britain, so that they can act for peace, sustainability, and social justice in the UK and abroad. What we do is provide a vital hub for the community in Camden and Ulverston in Cumbria, enabling groups to meet or stay at a fair price. What we do is help those who have seen doors shut on them too many times in their lives, through our Suspended Soup Scheme and Bake the Difference programme. All of this is in jeopardy today unless we get additional funding.

However, we remain hopeful for the future. We know that our remaining staff will go the extra mile, as always, to get us through the storm. As the pandemic has shown, we need more ethical businesses and we’re determined not to let ours go. Book with us (external link), so we can make a difference in the world.

Historic Hall now closed until Monday 17 February 2020

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Winter is here and the Old Hall is now closed for tours, the house will reopen on Monday 17 February 2020. The historic Swarthmoor Hall has six rooms, each furnished with decorations, ceramics and furniture from the 17th Century. There is an audio tour for walk-ins, or you can organise a guided tour in advance by completing a Group Bookings form.

Visitors are welcome to explore the gardens and grounds free of charge. You can also visit The Barn Café. Whether you are grabbing a coffee, joining us for a homemade lunch or having afternoon tea – it’s a relaxing space to unwind in.

Keep up to date with the latest news and events – follow Swarthmoor Hall on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Programme for Courses and Retreats for 2020

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Our programme of courses, retreats and pilgrimages for 2020 will be published soon. We have a great selection available, from writing retreats to spiritual guidance – there truly is something for everyone. Prices start at £170 per person, with residential and non-residential options available.

The first retreat of the year, ‘Writing Retreat’ takes place 15-20 March and is led by Ben Pink Dandelion and John Gray. This retreat is open to anyone looking for space and time for writing, whether starting a new project, or to take forward or finish off a current piece.  There will be an opportunity to hear from the tutors about their experience of writing and one to one time with them, but the emphasis will be on creating a supportive environment to devote to the craft itself.

You can take a look on our Courses and Retreats page to book online.