Review of ‘Downton Shabby’ by Hopwood DePree

Imagine that you are researching your family history and discover an ancient English mansion which belonged to your ancestors… but it’s falling to pieces and needs rescuing? That’s the book in a nutshell. It’s a good, entertaining read.

Named after the old branch of the family, Hopwood DePree is an actor and film maker. He was living in LA when his online researches found that his grandfather’s stories of a castle were true and of course he just had to visit. Hopwood Hall, in the town of Middleton, Greater Manchester, was estimated to have only a few years left before it became a ruin. The book is his account of how he ended up taking on the massive project of restoring the building. It’s not a how-to guide for restoring historic houses but it does give an insight into all the problems he faced. The content is quite amusing at times, particularly his misunderstandings as an American unaccustomed to northern England, although he does tend to say English when he means British, and vice versa.

An easy-to-read memoir with a happy conclusion, or at least the promise of one (the work is ongoing) and of course the book is good publicity for the cause. The title of the book is eye-catching; Hopwood actually met the creator of Downton Abbey and the owners of Highclere Castle (where the series was filmed).

Published in 2022 by William Morrow.

5 thoughts on “Review of ‘Downton Shabby’ by Hopwood DePree”

  1. As someone who LOVES the house television station, I think this book sounds fantastic. And, I wouldn’t even realise that the English/British thing was incorrect 🙂

    1. Sounds like you would enjoy the book! Yes I think it’s quite common to confuse British and English, I’m not offended, just something I noticed.

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