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Hylands Estate has been given a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic with the appointment of a new manager. Lorraine Thorne joins the iconic estate from Somerset House in London, where she led the commercial events team at the famous venue. With more than 20 years of experience at high-profile locations, Lorraine has run events at some of the capital's most prestigious buildings, specialising in promoting historic properties.
Like so many other venues across the country, most events at Hylands Estate have been cancelled this year. It's hoped the appointment of a new manager will bring fresh ideas and new business to the beautiful neoclassical villa, which is already well known as a location for big festivals, shows and weddings.
Lorraine Thorne says her first priority is to steer Hylands through the next phase of the pandemic: "The last few months have been hard for everyone and we are no exception here, but there is a chance for us to come back even stronger next year. Hylands is a place where exciting things happen; from hosting big festivals to featuring in high-profile productions like Killing Eve and The Crown. I'm certain Hylands can build upon its success as a leading film location – a market which is bouncing back after the initial lockdown hiatus. We've also just received funding from the government's Culture Recovery Fund which will allow us to innovate and stay relevant both as a business and a public space, so expect big things in 2021."
Hylands Estate was bought by Chelmsford City Council in 1966 and Hylands House completely restored. The Grade II* listed site, which includes The Stables artist studios and visitor centre, is regarded with great affection by the local community as one of the most-loved places in Essex.
Chelmsford City Council's cabinet member with responsibility for Hylands Estate, Cllr Rose Moore, says Lorraine understands the balancing act required for Hylands to thrive: "With a career spent helping venues like Somerset House, Royal Horticultural Halls and Imperial War Museums to flourish, Lorraine has an excellent track record of creating impactful events which are also sympathetic to the needs of historic public spaces. Hylands House is one of the jewels of our city; a place that so many of us feel a connection to. More than ever, it's crucial that the estate is a commercial success whilst balancing its place within our community. I'm looking forward to seeing what Lorraine has planned."
Work is already underway at Hylands House to give the venue an edge when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Earlier this year, the estate brought forward internal refurbishment works to offer couples who get married there an even more memorable wedding. Plans are also underway to use new technology to improve the visitor experience for Hylands House and The Stables using the estate's £105,000 recovery grant, and a new book about the history of the house is to be published next year.
For more information about Hylands Estate, go to: www.hylandsestate.co.uk