Who would have ever thought that a successful American film producer would inherit the seat of an English Estate!
Let’s face it; this is the kind of story you only ever read in fairy-tales or see on films, it is the stuff that dreams are made of.
Hopwood Hall although very grand and imposing is in need of some serious renovation, it’s remained neglected for more than 30 years, and sadly it shows.
But never fear Hopwood’s vision for the estate is to bring it back to its former glory and to make it part of the community as it once was back in its heyday.
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So what better way to find out more about Hopwood and what he intends to do with is newly found family seat.
On meeting Hopwood at his estate, it’s freezing, let us say the Beast from the East was biting, but Hopwood was full of smiles and ready to tell us his story.
What made you come back to the UK?
As an American, I have always been interested in genealogy, probably from my parents giving me the name Hopwood.
My grandfather, also named Hopwood, used to tell me stories about an ancestral “castle” in England named Hopwood Hall. Of course, I thought it disappeared centuries ago.
One night, while living in LA, I was browsing an ancestry website.
Suddenly, I made a discovery that fascinated me: Hopwood Hall was still standing.
I located an email address, sent a quick note and headed to bed.
The next morning, to my amazement, I had a response saying Hopwood Hall was in desperate need of help and wondered if I would be coming to England any time soon…
What are your intentions for the building once the renovations have been done?
With Hopwood Hall Estate’s close proximity to Manchester city centre, there is an incredible opportunity to transform it into a unique ‘creative retreat’ with accommodation that can complement the thriving art, culture & film scene in Greater Manchester.
Internationally, many people are looking for one-of-a-kind destinations to visit where they can have an experience that inspires them.
Hopwood Hall Estate can be that place.
From the moment I walked in, I was overwhelmingly inspired in a way that is hard to explain.
I can understand why Lord Byron is said to have completed his most famous poem here. There is something undeniably magical about Hopwood Hall.
It is the reason I am so passionate about the project.
We also plan to host many community events such as concerts, films, tours, charity functions and educational opportunities for students.
Soon-to-be brides have also been contacting us asking how soon Hopwood Hall will be ready for weddings!
Do you think Rochdale gets its unfair attention of bad press in the media?
I believe Rochdale will surprise people over the next few years. Historically, it has been very significant to the development of England.
There is a lot of major investment and activity happening with many people who want to see it succeed.
Look around, and you can see Rochdale, Middleton and Greater Manchester are on the upswing.
Where is more friendly the south or north of England?
People have been incredibly friendly across England and I am loving my time here.
The people in the North have made me feel at home, and I have already made many good friends in a short amount of time.
As at the moment you can’t live at Hopwood, where is your main abode?
Currently, I am staying in a house nearby. We are converting an area in the Hall into small living quarters that will be basic and will allow me to be on-site.
Having activity at the Hall will breath new life into it and provide an extra layer of security as we move forward in the restoration process.
Coming from a political family what are your thoughts on politics?
My father ingrained in me that we all need to have political opinions – whether we agree or disagree doesn’t matter.
What matters is that people care, are involved, and VOTE.
UK/ US Politics are exciting in the fact that any one of us has the power to make a change. And it can be a huge change.
You only have to have the passion to pursue it.
He always said: – if you don’t like the way politics are going, don’t waste your time complaining, instead put your energy into changing it.
I try to incorporate that philosophy in all that I do.
What is the most quaint essential English thing you’ve tried up to now?
I bought my very first pair of wellies, a wax jacket and cap to spend a weekend in the countryside.
Haha, I sent a photo to my friends in LA and they thought I had lost my mind!
Which do you prefer Tea or coffee or other?
In the short time that I have been living here, my assistant Fred has successfully converted me from drinking coffee to being an English tea devotee!
Favourite English dish?
Fish & Chips! Although I was practically thrown out of the chippie when I tried to pay with my credit card!
Who is the most famous person you’ve worked with?
It has been an interesting ride working with a lot of successful people over the years.
I think one of the most exciting times was early in my career when I was invited to screen my first film for Robert DeNiro who also happened to be one of my favourite actors.
Are there any new movies on the horizon and if so will Hopwood Hall feature in it?
Hopwood Hall is a great location so I am sure we will definitely be looking to feature it on TV & film projects.
We have already been filming short comedic videos about the Hopwood Hall Estate project that I have been posting on Facebook and my YouTube Channel: HopwoodXIV
Any celeb gossip you can spill?
In a town like Hollywood where everyone gossips I prefer to be a person who can be trusted with a secret!
And believe me, in Hollywood, there are a lot of them!!
How would you compare living in Hollywood to now rescuing a property in Middleton?
Believe it or not, there are similarities! Putting together the Hopwood Hall restoration project is a lot like producing a movie.
Years in the making, a lot of different people involved, high stakes, – balancing it all to find the perfect timing & conditions to make it happen.
Who inspires you?
The volunteers in the “Friends of Hopwood Hall Estate” group.
It consists of many residents in the local community who have come out to support the project which has been uplifting and energising for everyone involved.
Did you set out to have the career path you have and ended up with?
I have always tried to follow my instincts, which has taken me down a very interesting and diverse path.
I set out to see where my passions would lead and somehow it brought me on this adventure to Greater Manchester! I am having a great time.
Is there in funny stories you like to tell people?
In my early days in Hollywood, I once tried to lure in customers to The California Chicken Café by dancing around in a full-body chicken suit.
Sadly, everyone seemed to honk their horn and continue driving on. I must have been a very disappointing chicken dancer.
Have you found anything unexpected whilst doing the renovation?
There seems to be some kind of surprise almost every day. I am looking forward to working with archaeologists and historians to solve some of the unexplained mysteries we are finding.
I have to ask for all the ladies out there, are you single?
Haha yes currently single. I am thinking about getting a dog. A black Labrador.
Photographs courtesy of
kerry Hargreaves Photography –
To book call 07745 546006