street of shame

Bashful Bamfords
Privacy, Issue 1579

AS THE old saying goes, where the pounds go the Schillings follow. And before the outgoing prime minister and his wife had even arrived at the lavish celebration hosted for them by multi-million pound Tory donor Lord Bamford and his wife in late July, legal letters were rolling in to newspapers from Britain's most eye-wateringly expensive – and arm-chancingly opportunistic – legal firm.

daylesford-house.jpg The Bamfords were enraged, Schillings said, at what it called "private photographs" of their home, Daylesford House, which were published across the Street of Shame in the run-up to the belated wedding party and included aerial shots of the grounds and a marquee.

Put the Bamford family's security at risk
The firm declared this a violation of its clients' privacy and a "misuse of private information". In at least one case, it fumed, a map had been included which, alongside photos showing the layout, was not only an "egregious" privacy breach but put the Bamford family's security at risk. It pointed to legal precedents for restraining anything that would "allow members of the public to identify a specific residential address". The photos must be removed from online articles about the party and the papers must promise never to take or publish such snaps again.

Oddly, few newspapers have rushed to comply. But their legal departments are watching with interest to see if Schillings also fires off a threatening letter to, among others, photo agency Alamy, where several of the aerial photographs used last month have been available from its online library since, er, June 2010, apparently without objection from anyone.

Come in and wander the grounds
Or, indeed, the National Heritage List for England, maintained by Historic England, which not only offers detailed maps of the Daylesford estate but no fewer than 2,561 words on the Grade II* park and grounds and the Grade I listed house. Perhaps Schillings will also contact the National Open Garden Scheme, which advertised an opportunity for the public to come in and wander the grounds on 4 May this year.

Schillings might also wang out letters to several of the Bamfords' own companies, which volunteer full details of Daylesford House as the correspondence address for both Lord and Lady B, to be published openly by official registry Companies House.

And as a matter of urgency they should track down whichever mysterious figures were responsible for giving photographer Hugo Rittson Thomas and author Victoria Summerley extensive access to the grounds for their lavish coffee table book Secret Gardens of the Cotswolds, published in 2015 – something Lady Bamford was clearly so furious about she hosted a signing of Rittson Thomas's latest tome at the Daylesford Organics complex just across the road last year.

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24th August 2022
Private Eye Issue 1578