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 underG211 - Well House Consultants - The story of our Georgian HQ and Edwardian Hotel 
Guest Guide for Well House Manor and Melksham - (2012-09-18) 
Memorial to a day in 1999 - (2010-10-06) 
Well House Manor - the history of the hotel - (2010-09-20) 
01225 707126 to 01225 344596 to 01225 899360 - Well House Fax - (2010-08-26) 
Bright day, snowy day - (2010-01-06) 
Ten years ago, we moved to Melksham Spa - (2009-12-24) 
Ten years in Melksham - looking forward to ten more. - (2009-08-11) 
On the roof of a Melksham Spa House - (2009-05-05) 
Christmas is coming very early - (2007-11-24) 
MacFormat - Me and My Mac - (2007-03-31) 
Butterflies in a Wiltshire garden - (2006-08-12) 
Melksham in Bloom - (2006-07-22) 
Gardens, Well House Consultants HQ - (2006-05-13) 
Contrast - the storm and the calm. - (2005-01-10) 
History around you - (2004-11-15)M350 - Well House Manor - project diary 
A course is not just for a year - its for a career - (2013-02-20) 
Expecting nothing, but prepared for anything - (2013-01-05) 
National TV - Melksham - 9th January 2013, Pre-alert. - (2012-12-27) 
Keeping our hotel looking like new, by using our gained experience - (2012-03-09) 
The changing Hotel and Bed and Breakfast business in Melksham - (2012-01-18) 
Well House Manor - the next six years - (2010-10-24) 
Well House Manor Hotel - on plan for 2009 business guests - (2009-01-03) 
A lot has happened in a year - (2007-05-31) 
Three big events - TWSW, Business of the year and the police - (2007-03-03) 
Telling a story in different ways - (2007-02-20) 
Rail trouble forced me to buy hotel - (2007-02-07) 
Snagging - (2006-11-24) 
A tale of a wee wall - (2006-11-19) 
Before and After - Well House Manor - (2006-11-18) 
Brand new hotel and training centre, Melksham - (2006-10-22) 
Where quality costs less - (2006-10-15) 
Open - (2006-10-09) 
Coming together. - (2006-09-29) 
4 weeks to go - (2006-09-11) 
From the Manor written - (2006-09-07) 
Fitting our bathrooms - (2006-09-04) 
Hotel, Melksham, Wiltshire - (2006-08-24) 
Above the parapit, Well House Manor - (2006-07-28) 
Naming Rooms - (2006-06-24) 
Seeing the bricks for the trees - (2006-06-11) 
We can offer a room, but we can't operate on a dog - (2006-06-05) 
The eye - (2006-05-31) 
Residential - (2006-05-15) 
Planning a hotel refurb - an example of a Gant chart in PHP - (2006-05-14) 
Sympathetic development - (2006-04-09) 
Well House Manor - (2006-01-21) 
Hotel novelties - (2006-01-05) 
2006 - Making business a pleasure - (2006-01-01)
Some other Articles
Who is this? Picture PuzzleBus times - Chippenham Station to Melksham, with London connectionsNew bus times - Melksham to BathWhere do I find .... (Our hotel FAQ)The Accidental HotelierSigns of AutumnGood cause giving - getting the charity beggars off the streetRooms ready for guests - each time, every time, thanks to good system designCaching Design PatternsRelax at Well House Manor - gardens, fountain, hotel