Hotel and training centre, Melksham, Wiltshire
High quality accommodation for course delegates, business travellers and the leisure visitor too.

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For 2023 (and 2024 ...) - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))
The Accidental Hotelier

Our guests often ask us why we're called "Well House Manor". And they ask why we're an IT training centre with some rather nice accommdation tied in with it, as they find it a rather unusual combination. Let me tell you the story.

Well House Consultants Ltd is a company I set up in 1995, to deliver IT training course in the SunOS, Solaris, Irix and Linux operating systems, and programming courses in Shell and C. It's called "Well House" because we lived in a house called "The Well House" with a well in the garden, fed by a spring. We lived in a high valley - the last house in the last village before Salisbury Plain; at night, you could often hear the "crump" sound as the army practised up on the plain, but otherwise it was a remote and quiet spot.

As a part of my consultancy work, I worked on a handful of websites - some of the first ones which were clever enough to do more than just feed out unchanging pages, and to do this work I used the Perl progamming language. And as I was then both a trainer and a Perl Programmer, people started asking me to train them in Perl. So - I wrote my first course under the "Well House Consultants" banner. At first, our courses were sold, administered and resourced by the company for whom I was presenting their other training, but within a couple of years I was so busy presenting courses on Perl (and Java, which I had been persuaded to add!), that I wasn't giving Solaris courses any more ...

Lisa and I moved to Melksham at the very end of 1999, to a house which had enough space for us to give over a number of rooms to training - not only a training room, but also a library, chill-out and lunch room and reception. And it was also a restoration project, complicated by the fact that it's historically significant and thus a listed building. But access was much easier than "The Well House" as we were just a stone's throw from an A road, and on the edge of the town of Melksham, which provided facilities for any delegates who came on our course.

It turned out that rather more delegates came than we had expected. And they came from far afield too; that wasn't such a surprise, as our subjects are very specialised (niche) ones, with very few providers indeed of our type of training. During the day, delegates learned with us. Even in the evening, they sat around in our chill out area, watched DVDs, did geeky things (we were one of the first places in Melksham to have a broadband network) before heading off to sleep at one of many B&Bs in Melksham.

Running a B&B is very hard work and, moving forward five years, the owners of these establishments were starting to drop out of the market, or were specialising in the tourist trade. Typically, they offered a bed for the night and a full breakfast from around 8 or 8:30. Alas, our delegates increasingly wanted a large ensuite room, internet access, to be able to pay by debit or credit card, and a healthy breakfast option that started much earlier. So ... Lisa and I took over "The Old Manor" - a B&B already, with an owner looking to move on, and (taking the parts of both names) christened it Well House Manor.

It wasn't just the name that changed at Well House Manor - it was much more. We gutted the 1906 building and refitted it to a modern high standard with high quality materials. We opened up the garden and driveway, turning it into a quiet but welcoming commercial property. And we installed the latest in networking, IT systems, and training facilities - it was a wonderful opportunity for me to have exactly what I wanted in my own training room. Our first delegates stayed in October, 2006.

Since we moved to Melksham in 1999, we had made friends with many members of the local business community, and soon after we opened for delegates, we started to receive enquiries asking if guests visiting other Melksham companies could stay with us. Apparently, they too had similar needs to our delegates - decent space, en-suite, late arrival, early departure, blisteringly fast internet, pay by credit card, etc. And we said "yes" - tentative at first, but then with growing confidence as we realised that this business complemented rather than competed with the training business, and that the hotel guests who arrived were looking for almost exactly the same thing as our delegates. Roll on a few more months, and one of our neighbours asked if her Mum and Dad could stay with us one weekend when they visited ... And before long, we were open daily.

Lisa and I couldn't possibly do all the day to day work and management of Well House Manor on our own. We're very fortunate to have a very strong team indeed who run it for us, with just a minimum of input from us. Lisa still does all the admin paperwork, and I'm delighted to stand in and take shifts from time to time, but as things run from day to day everything from breakfasts and room changes to ordering supplies, deep clean rotas and maintainance are taken care of. Now - I know just how much hard work that takes and I appreciate it, so that it's over to you as a visitor to enjoy your stay. We say making business a pleaure to our hotel guests, and we say come as a student, leave as a friend to course delegates. We also say that we have become accidental hoteliers!
(written 2012-08-24, updated 2012-11-04)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter for individual articles
M350 - Well House Manor - project diary
  [550] 2006 - Making business a pleasure - (2006-01-01)
  [555] Hotel novelties - (2006-01-05)
  [571] Well House Manor - (2006-01-21)
  [677] Sympathetic development - (2006-04-09)
  [720] Planning a hotel refurb - an example of a Gant chart in PHP - (2006-05-14)
  [721] Residential - (2006-05-15)
  [739] The eye - (2006-05-31)
  [744] We can offer a room, but we can't operate on a dog - (2006-06-05)
  [756] Seeing the bricks for the trees - (2006-06-11)
  [776] Naming Rooms - (2006-06-24)
  [816] Above the parapit, Well House Manor - (2006-07-28)
  [844] Hotel, Melksham, Wiltshire - (2006-08-24)
  [855] Fitting our bathrooms - (2006-09-04)
  [858] From the Manor written - (2006-09-07)
  [862] 4 weeks to go - (2006-09-11)
  [881] Coming together. - (2006-09-29)
  [890] Open - (2006-10-09)
  [894] Where quality costs less - (2006-10-15)
  [902] Brand new hotel and training centre, Melksham - (2006-10-22)
  [931] Before and After - Well House Manor - (2006-11-18)
  [932] A tale of a wee wall - (2006-11-19)
  [941] Snagging - (2006-11-24)
  [1069] Rail trouble forced me to buy hotel - (2007-02-07)
  [1087] Telling a story in different ways - (2007-02-20)
  [1098] Three big events - TWSW, Business of the year and the police - (2007-03-03)
  [1211] A lot has happened in a year - (2007-05-31)
  [1975] Well House Manor Hotel - on plan for 2009 business guests - (2009-01-03)
  [3014] Well House Manor - the next six years - (2010-10-24)
  [3585] The changing Hotel and Bed and Breakfast business in Melksham - (2012-01-18)
  [3645] Keeping our hotel looking like new, by using our gained experience - (2012-03-09)
  [3963] National TV - Melksham - 9th January 2013, Pre-alert. - (2012-12-27)
  [3968] Expecting nothing, but prepared for anything - (2013-01-05)
  [4012] A course is not just for a year - its for a career - (2013-02-20)
  [4739] A year of changes for Lisa and Graham Ellis, and Well House - (2017-05-27)

G211 - Well House Consultants - The story of our Georgian HQ and Edwardian Hotel
  [118] History around you - (2004-11-15)
  [174] Contrast - the storm and the calm. - (2005-01-10)
  [719] Gardens, Well House Consultants HQ - (2006-05-13)
  [811] Melksham in Bloom - (2006-07-22)
  [830] Butterflies in a Wiltshire garden - (2006-08-12)
  [1126] MacFormat - Me and My Mac - (2007-03-31)
  [1443] Christmas is coming very early - (2007-11-24)
  [2158] On the roof of a Melksham Spa House - (2009-05-05)
  [2350] Ten years in Melksham - looking forward to ten more. - (2009-08-11)
  [2548] Ten years ago, we moved to Melksham Spa - (2009-12-24)
  [2565] Bright day, snowy day - (2010-01-06)
  [2935] 01225 707126 to 01225 344596 to 01225 899360 - Well House Fax - (2010-08-26)
  [2962] Well House Manor - the history of the hotel - (2010-09-20)
  [2987] Memorial to a day in 1999 - (2010-10-06)
  [3864] Guest Guide for Well House Manor and Melksham - (2012-09-18)
  [4139] Out of doors (mostly) at Well House in Melksham - (2013-07-12)
  [4751] Final day of training at Well House Manor - Python, Lua, Tcl and C/C++ continue at The Spa, Melksham - (2017-06-30)

Back to
Signs of Autumn
Previous and next
Horse's mouth home
Forward to
Where do I find .... (Our hotel FAQ)
Some other Articles
Who is this? Picture Puzzle
Bus times - Chippenham Station to Melksham, with London connections
New bus times - Melksham to Bath
Where do I find .... (Our hotel FAQ)
The Accidental Hotelier
Signs of Autumn
Good cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the street
Rooms ready for guests - each time, every time, thanks to good system design
Caching Design Patterns
Relax at Well House Manor - gardens, fountain, hotel
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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