New Waddesdon manor boss has Olympic heritage

The new chief executive of Waddesdon Manor has swapped the east end of London for the bucolic beauty of Bucks.

Sarah Weir OBE was heavily involved in delivering London 2012 and then became chief executive of The Legacy List to encourage people to use the former Olympic stadium.

Waddesdon Manor CEO Sarah Weir

Waddesdon Manor CEO Sarah Weir

She was a great fan of the satirical comedy television series ‘2012’ which starred Hugh Bonneville and poked fun at the delivery of the games, and said: “We all loved it and watched it all the time. It was often a case of art imitating life.”

Now ensconced in a property on the Waddesdon estate she considers herself privileged to be here and loves star gazing at night.

She said: “I wanted to take a job doing something incredibly different, something that would be a major challenge. When I arrive at work early in the morning and it’s entirely peaceful and quiet, with a large number of birds singing, the beauty of the place overwhelms me.”

Born in Edinburgh, Ms Weir grew up in Sussex, left school at 16 and started her career in insurance working at Lloyds, where she eventually became the first female managing director.

Following a move from business into the arts she then worked at Purdy Hicks Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts.

She studied for a History of Arts degree from Birkbeck College in the mid 90s and received her OBE in 2011 from Prince Charles for services to the arts.

She hopes to focus on the development of arts and culture at Waddesdon, and has several new initiatives lined up. One thing she hopes to do is to encourage anyone who has worked at the manor, or knows someone who did, to share their stories so that a recorded history of the lives of people connected to the manor can be made.

She said: “I want to honour the history of Waddesdon and bring the place alive.”

When the new season begins in mid March she also intends to initiate Curtains Up. She said: “Once a month each room will have the blinds opened to enable visitors to see the outside from inside the house and connect with the beauty outside. The conservators have decided that once a month during the day it will be all right.

Ms Weir replaces Fabia Bromovsky who has became chief executive of the Rothschild Foundation charity, which is chaired by Lord Rothschild.