‘We were looking after them as we do normal guests’: Hartwell House on playing host to global financial heavyweights and international media

George Osborne making cakes with women from WI at Hartwell House during the conference and, below, the G7 'family photo'
George Osborne making cakes with women from WI at Hartwell House during the conference and, below, the G7 'family photo'
3
Have your say

Leading international finance ministers and banking chiefs have met near Aylesbury amid a huge security operation.

Hartwell House played host to the spring summit of the G7 group, chaired by chancellor George Osborne and the governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King.

G7 meeting at Hartwell House near Aylesbury

G7 meeting at Hartwell House near Aylesbury

Police were out in force for three days, with horses, sniffer dogs and riot vans seen along the Oxford Road through the two-day conference, attended by officials from America, Germany and Japan, among others.

Hartwell was in lockdown for four days from last Thursday and closed to visitors while the summit was held.

Many were taken by surprise at the conference’s location, which had been kept under wraps by the house’s manager Jonathan Thompson for more than a year.

Mr Thompson said: “We were first contacted in March 2012. The location was the choice of George Osborne and Sir Mervyn King.

“It’s not a question of accepting, it’s a question of if we can look after their expectations. We were looking after them as we do normal guests.

“The chancellor wanted a traditional, historical setting and to show off the British countryside and way of life.”

Mr Thompson said the biggest issue was dealing with the world’s media.

He said: “We had a large marquee in the spa car parking and had 100 journalists from around the world and six TV crews at one point.

“We were broadcasting from Hartwell to the world.”

The manager said the conference was a ‘great achievement’ for staff there and there was praise from the guests, too.

Mr Thompson said: “The chancellor asked me to thank all the staff for their work and the way they looked after the guests.”

Mr Osborne said: “It was a privilege to host the main meeting of the G7 and to welcome our counterparts and colleagues to the beautiful British countryside.”