Wittridge’s career move into antiques started with redundancy from a marketing consultancy and a potentially life-threatening eye condition. He wanted to “try something new without risking everything. Hence I opened Man Cave Antiques in Leigh-on-Sea which basically does what it says on the tin.”
Fast forward to a chance meeting with Kyre Park’s owner, Tzaraine Gwyn-Jones, whose husband Timothy died last year and who had spent 18 years restoring Kyre Park and always wanted to convert the 18th century tithe barn in the grounds into an antiques centre and bistro.
Wittridge said: “Mrs Gwyn-Jones and myself worked on a business plan to bring the late Mr Gwyn-Jones’ dream to reality. From the moment I saw the barn and the idyllic grounds of Kyre Park House this felt like a destination, a destination that people would travel to.
“Work started on the barn last August and I was not the only one to fall in love with the place as 100 applicants wanted to take space. This is whittled down now to 22 dealers selling traditional country house to Mid-century chic and vintage industrial. These include dealers and newbies to the industry and some with no online presence at all.”
Kyre Park Antiques Barn launches on the weekend of April 17-18.