In 1903, Luton Hoo was bought by Sir Julius Wernher, a diamond dealer who redesigned the interior of the stately home, which dates from the late 18th century.
After the death of Sir Julius, Harold Wernher inherited the estate from his father.
In 1948, Sir Harold and his wife Lady Zia, Countess Anastasia Mikhailovna de Torby, hosted a memorable visit by Sir Winston Churchill, recently featured on the Yesteryear page. The Wernhers decided to exhibit Sir Julius’s art collection in the mansion in 1951, including his famous Faberge collection.
They also bred several well-known race horses, including Brown Jack, who won 25 races in his 10-year career, and Charlottown, who won The Derby in 1966. Following Lady Zia’s death, the estate passed to their elder grandson, Nicholas Phillips, who died in 1991. It was bought by Elite Hotels in 1999 and Luton Hoo Hotel opened in 2007.