Villagers in Bampton, Oxfordshire, are campaigning to raise £250,000 to help preserve their local library and museum in the town’s Old Grammar School.
The 400-year-old building features in Downton Abbey the ITV hit drama series. The money is needed to replace a staircase which was removed in the 1960s as well as renovation of the roof and strengthening of the first floor. The unused second floor was declared unsafe 30 years ago.
Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville has backed the bid to save the four centuries old building. And the production company, Carnival, donated £20,000 to Bampton so that the Parish Council could keep the library up and running.
The picturesque village was chosen to be the fictitious Downton when filming for the period drama began in 2010. Since then, Bampton has enjoyed large numbers of visitors, with devoted fans flocking to see where main characters were filmed.
The Old Grammar School building houses Bampton’s library as well as the Bampton Community Archive which includes a permanent Downton Abbey exhibition and a small shop.
Hugh Bonneville who plays Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey, said “if every viewer of Downton gave a little tiny bit then we could save this building for the future and for generations to come.”
Hugh Bonneville video courtesy Simon Garrett
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