Lady Bamford

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Biographical Information

"Née Carole Gray Whitt, she has been married for 33 years to billionaire industrialist Sir Anthony Bamford, owner of JCB, a leading manufacturer of construction cranes and other heavy equipment, founded by his father in 1945. The Bamfords are one of England’s most politically and socially influential couples, thanks at least in part to extravagant entertaining at their numerous properties. In addition to the Gloucestershire stronghold, there’s a London mansion; a 4,200-acre estate in Staffordshire, known as Wootton; Heron Bay, the fabled Barbados home once owned by Ronald and Marietta Tree; and Château de Léoube, in Provence. At sea and in the air they are no less pampered: There’s the Virginian, their 240-foot yacht previously owned by John Kluge; the private jet; and one of the biggest private helicopters in England, a Sikorsky S-76 (Anthony uses it to commute daily to his factory in Staffordshire).

"For many a wealthy wife, organizing domestic life on this scale would have been quite enough. But five years ago Bamford found a vocation. She decided it might be nice to open a small shop on the Daylesford property to sell the produce, meat and cheese from their two country estates, which she began converting to ecologically friendly farms two decades before. Daylesford Organic, as the enterprise is known, has since grown into a much visited lifestyle supersite, offering a full gourmet shop and café, other shops selling home furnishings, garden tools and accessories, and a holistic spa complete with visiting Thai monk. Another barn is dedicated to her women’s and men’s fashion lines (Bamford and Bamford & Sons), featuring ultraluxe organic cashmeres...

"Although “green” has lately become all the rage, Bamford’s eco-consciousness dates back more than 25 years. Bamford says her green conversion took place while attending an agricultural fair with her husband, where she wandered into a tent on the fringe of the show that demonstrated the then nearly unheard-of practice of organic farming. “I was in there for two hours,” she recalls. “It was like someone had opened a window for me—it was a revelation. I thought about my children, and I said, ‘This is quite the way to go.’..

"At a turn, the house comes into view. Topped by a large dome, it is a palatially scaled Regency-style building constructed of golden Cotswold stone. Begun in 1788 by Warren Hastings, the first governor general of Bengal, it has been owned in the last century by Viscount Rothermere, the press magnate, and Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the German industrialist and art collector. The Bamfords, who bought the estate in 1988 for a reported $22 million...

"Much like her friend and Gloucestershire neighbor Prince Charles, Bamford had to endure years of snickering about her green obsession. (The Prince of Wales turned his estate Highgrove green in the mid-Eighties.) “People used to think he was a bit dotty. But he’s an absolute visionary,” she says. Now, of course, everybody’s “jumping on the bandwagon,” as she puts it.

"As the movement continues to gain ground, Bamford seems to be making her own particular contribution. Simply put, she’s out to make organic chic. “Organic and eco used to be Jesus sandals and hair shirts—a bit grubby,” she says, crinkling her nose. “What I am trying to do, hopefully, is take it to another level.”

"If Bamford has a model, perhaps it’s Deborah, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, who opened her first shop at Chatsworth, her palatial estate, in 1977, and made rural food and crafts fashionable. “She’s an inspiration and a beacon of light,” says Bamford...

"Cynics charge that the Bamfords, who have three children, have reached society’s top rung thanks to unseemly generosity. Certainly, they distribute their favors to all sides. Heron Bay, for example, was put at the disposal of Tony and Cherie Blair, with whom they have by all accounts become close. But Anthony—who was knighted in 1990 under the Conservatives—keeps in good standing with David Cameron and the Tories too (in 2005 he reportedly gave them one million pounds). And they are also good neighbors to Prince Charles, to whom, it has been published, they lend the services of their helicopter...

"Bamford is likewise said to get on well with her two other children, Jo, 30, who works with his father and recently married Alex Browne, a knitwear designer, and Alice, 31, a film producer (she coproduced Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited)." [1]

"Carole Bamford continues a close relationships with The Slow Food Movement and The Soil Association. In 2006 Carole Bamford was awarded an OBE for her services to Children and families." [1]


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  1. wmagazine Lady Bountiful, organizational web page, accessed July 7, 2012.