The Courtyard welcomed HRH The Prince of Wales today. The Prince spent almost an hour and a half visiting every business, after being welcomed by Simon Robinson and Heather Hancock, representing the two husband and wife couples who started the venture over five years ago. Simon explained the vision that led to the development, before the Prince toured the whole site, meeting everyone on site. Simon commented:
“It was a privilege to show His Royal Highness what has been achieved at The Courtyard. The Prince was really taken with our vision to create an environment where small, independent, artisan businesses can build their market and profile. We worked hard to create the right blend, to establish a truly high quality rural destination, with great personal service, and our visitors say they love it.
“The visit was a chance for us to show His Royal Highness how we are putting into practice the ambitions he has for sustainable rural communities and the traditional skills that underpin them. We are very proud that in developing The Courtyard, we enabled almost 50 new jobs to be created in the countryside, good quality jobs for local people who are passionate about what they do.”
After her husband and business partner had welcome His Royal Highness to the Courtyard, Sally Robinson showed The Prince around their purpose built Dalesbred showroom. Developing the Courtyard meant that she and Simon could invest in a major expansion of their business, taking on new local craftsmen and women, and opening a new workshop in nearby Settle.
“The Prince was really pleased to learn that we make our furniture and soft furnishings within 8 miles of our showroom. He asked how we sourced the special woods we use, like the burr oak, about our design inspiration reflecting the Arts and Crafts movement, and taking the process from original idea to bespoke product. Our staff are all local, and loved the chance to meet His Royal Highness and tell him how they got involved.”
Richard Wright, chef-proprietor of The Courtyard Brasserie, offers all day dining built around local suppliers and excellent provenance. He welcome HRH to his stunning first floor brasserie and introduced him to the whole team. Richard said: “The Prince of Wales was genuinely interested in how we keep things local, our relationships with local food producers, and my passion for offering seasonal food and the best of the area to our customers. Many of our staff have been here since we opened in 2012, all from the local community, and many of them have built their skills and progressed in kitchen and front of house roles since then. So it’s a success story for them personally, as well as for the great food producers we work with.”
We hear HRH was tempted by the millionaire’s shortbread, but showed great restraint!
The Prince looked in on Abraham Moon’s exclusive shop when visiting The Courtyard. When the famous Yorkshire family business decided to introduce their own contemporary country clothing line, they chose The Courtyard as the perfect location. Susan Giles, retail manager, talked His Royal Highness through the range and design process for the distinctive tweeds and woollens. The shop has been such a success that Moons plan further expansion in York.
Susan commented that “Having the Prince of Wales visit was a real highlight. It was a chance for him to see the end results from our unique Guiseley woollen mill, which he visited in 2015 in his role as Patron of the Campaign for Wool. I loved showing him the new Spring clothing range, and he appeared very happy to hear about the success of our wool upholstery fabrics.”