It’s been a nautical and mathematical academy in the past, and now it’s a hotel – and The Priory in Louth is this year celebrating its 200th anniversary.
Even today, The Priory still encompasses its historic roots, which were built up by Thomas Espin in the regency period – with the building initially being set up as a charitable school for those with potential and not the means.
Now 200 years later, Paul Hugill, who has been the proprietor of The Priory Hotel for the past 17 years, is still carrying on the amazing work which Mr Espin started.
He offers a place of employment for people with learning difficulties, giving each individual a chance to shine and show off their skills, which others may have overlooked.
Mr Hugill said: “The team that work here inspire and humble me so much.
“I have changed a lot over the years because of these amazing people I work with.
“They have given me a new perspective on life, something which is worth much more than money.”
“To them, it’s not just a job – it has given them a life.”
To celebrate their big anniversary, Paul and The Priory team has teamed up with Louth’s Pin Gin creators Alan Bottomley and Amy Conyard to create their very own brand of gin, The Priory Cut.
In keeping with the traditional recipe, the new Priory Cut gin includes all the Pin Gin flavours, but comes out at a higher 45.5 percentage – giving it a sharper and more intense taste.
Mr Bottomley said: “We have known Paul for a while, but we went to The Priory one night for a drink, and started to discuss gin and if he had ever thought about making one for the hotel.
“Paul then said: ‘Seriously, can we make this special gin happen?’, and it all spiralled from there.”
The release of the new gin has come at the best time for The Priory as it coincides with their big 200th anniversary year – and was made just in time for the hotel’s annual Gig In The Garden event which was held on Sunday.
The event opens the hotel’s gardens up to the public for one night of great music, art and this year, the opportunity to buy a bottle of the new gin for charity.
Mr Hugill added: “This year’s event, despite the rain, was amazing.
“We really had to think on our feet, as we’ve never had such bad weather before, and lost thousands of pounds worth of equipment to the rain. But we got everything together and the atmosphere was incredible.”
Mr Hugill also revealed the new gin went down extremely well, with most of their stock being almost sold out in that one day.
The final total raised from the event is still to be announced, but funds are being raised for a number of local charities, which includes Refuge, LIVES, Let Them Eat Cake, ECHO Food Kitchen, The Alzheimers Society and a network of community food banks.
Mr Hugill would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to everyone who came along and supported the event, as well as the volunteers and bands that the made the gig such a success.