Starting with the WHAT....
Development of the site started in 1970 when an enterprising farmer decided to utilise a field as a Golf Driving Range. But not until the mid 70’s when it was purchased by Birmingham builders Sapcotes was there any solid brick structures. This centered around the Pub and Function Room come Skittles market.
In 1984 a Par 3 “Pitch and Putt” golf course was added and then in 1989 a 21 bedroom hotel with adjoining Atrium Lounge was built.
In the recession that followed, the complex was sold to a local family from Sutton Coldfield (1991), with a new Board of Directors who were; Morris Kirkham (General Manager), Mark Blake and John Blake (Chairman). Modest extensions were made in 1991, but in 1992 the first large extensions commenced including a further 24 bedrooms and Health Club, which opened in 1993. This extension also housed the Octagon Suite, a purpose built conference room seating up to 120 delegates. The room is also used for Civil Wedding Ceremonies with, to date, nearly 700 couples getting “hitched” there!
The next substantial extension was made in 1996 when a further 34 bedrooms and 2 conference rooms were added, taking the total number of rooms to 80 and conference rooms to 10.
In 1999 the Golf Range was re-built with larger bays, carpeting and 10 Power Tees. At this time a dedicated teaching area and changing rooms were also added. This was partly in preparation for the opening of a new 9-hole golf course aptly named “The Lakes” in early 2001.
1998 saw the Blake family purchase the Abbey Hotel (formerly Abbey Park), and between 1998 and 2006 this hotel was developed from 32 rooms to 100, with extensions including a Conference and Banqueting Centre and a new Health Club. The existing 18 hole golf course has been heavily overhauled including fairway drainage over an area of 70 acres costing a staggering £0.5 million alone.
In 2006 when the final extension at the Abbey was completed a refurbishment programme started at Lea Marston, commencing with the Sportsmans Bar which became Hathaways.
In 2008 the Atrium Lounge had a complete make-over with interior design done by local man Brian Gauge (of Newman Gauge). This was followed in 2009 by the Perry Barton Suite, restaurant and then the main reception area and Dunton Manor Suite.
In 2010 a Spa was developed including 4 treatment rooms and relaxation area, plus Rasul, steam room and sauna (by DFL/Klafs). Also by the end of 2010 the first 20 rooms built at Lea Marston had a complete new look, complete with sparkling new bathrooms.
Now for the Who....
This is a family business, and despite going from a mere 25 staff in 1991 to well over a hundred today the values of the Management and Staff remain the same. All staff fully engaged in delivering excellent service to all customers.
Some senior team members have been working at Lea Marston for nearly 30 years and include Tom Kirkham who started as a glass washer in 1984, became a Manager in 1986 and General Manager in 1992, Group Operations Director in 2002, and Managing Director in 2004. Tom's Father Morris preceded him as General Manager from 1983 until 1992, and was a Director until he retired in 1996.
View images from the past from our archive gallery, just click on the description below to view.HOW WE HAVE CHANGED!
And now for the NOW view our gallery as we are today and see how much we have changed!