Alvin Lee's

HOOKEND MANOR / Space Studio




“Life’s Been Good To Me” – By Joe Walsh
From His Album – “But Seriously Folks”

This is an autobiographical song that Alvin Lee himself wished he had written, but Joe Walsh beat him to it. This was one of Alvin’s top ten picks on a radio show that he was hosting many years ago called: “Deserted Island Picks”. If you were stranded, or going to a deserted island, which ten songs would you choose to bring with you?

 Life’s Been Good:

I have a mansion, forget the price, ain’t never been there, they tell me it’s nice.
I live in hotels, tear out the walls, I have accountants pay for it all.
They say I’m crazy, but I have a good time, I’m just looking for clues at the scene of the crime.
Life’s been good to me so far.

My Maserati does one eighty five, I lost my licence, now I don’t drive.
I have a limo, ride in the back, I lock the doors in case I’m attacked.
I’m makin´ records, my fans they can’t wait. They write me letters, tell me I’m great.
So I got me an office, gold records on the wall. Just leave a message, maybe I’ll call.
Lucky I’m sane after all I’ve been through – everybody says I’m cool…He’s Cool !
I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do.
Life’s been good to me so far.

I go to parties, sometimes until 4:00 It’s hard to leave when you can’t find the door.
It’s tough to handle this fortune and fame, everybody’s so different, I haven’t changed.
They say I’m lazy, but it takes all my time. Everybody says oh, yeah… OH YEAH !
I keep on going, guess I’ll never know why.
Life’s been good to me so far…yeah, yeah, yeah.




Inside of Hookend Manor - looking out



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 to enlarge 

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The History of Hookend Manor

1580 - 2004

What happened to the gigantic  monasteries of England when the Monks have left them vacant?  A prime example is Buckland Abby that was founded by the Cistercian Monks back in 1278. It was converted into a house after the dissolution of the monasteries. In 1581 Sir Francis Drake purchased it and it was in the Drake family until 1946.

Hook End was built in 1580 for use as a Tudor Monastery. The Tudor era has given us some of the most captivating and enduring images in English history.


In an interview with Morrissey, former lead singer with the Smith's, here are his personal comments about Hookend Manor and his encounter with a friendly ghost.  

"Hookend Manor is the former stately home and domicile to flying fingers Alvin Lee and later David Gilmoure, originally it was a home for Monks as if monastery was a dirty word".

"Since I've been here several people have had certain visitations at night time, including me"   ".....It happened for each person at ten past four in the morning"  "It felt like a hand on your chest as if you were being woken or stirred. The conclusion I've come to is that it's the ghost of some misguided monk going round waking people up for prayers"


As the interview with Morrissey concludes, "It was time to try a different bed and the one here's quite comfortable"  Despite the Monk?  "Because of the Monk".  

Somewhere in this list there is also rumour that the house may have been used to house the mentally ill or the mentally  insane we don't know how true that is but it would make perfect sense to have such a samatarium located in such a remote setting. Rumour has it that Alvin purchased the estate from a dentist or doctor I only mention this as part of the long and vivid history that this house has had. 

The next owner  was Sir Charles Clore:
Born: 1904 Died: 6/26/79

Who was Sir Charles Clore:

Sir Charles Clore was one of Britain’s most successful and powerful financier, post war businessmen-multi-millionaire and one of the most generous philanthropists of his day, and property magnet. In 1954 Sir Charles bought J. Sears and Company, a shoe manufacturer founded in 1912, he paid four million and changed its name to Sears Holdings in  the following year. It also should be known that he built the Sears retail empire from next to nothing starting in the 1950's and 1960's. Sir Charles was also one of the most prominent men in the Jewish West End of London.  He also owned a pharmaceutical company in the early years and later Selfridges's in London. 

Sir Charles was also a serious collector of fine art, part of his collection consisted of an early 16th century Italian Bronze Plaquette of David. Also included were Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary paintings, Drawings, Water Colours and Sculpture's. Some of his vast collection was sold at Christies.

Sir Charles, had only one daughter, her name is Dame Vivien Duffield who proceeded to carry on the work of her father. The Clore Foundation was established in 1964 by her father and she became the chairman of the foundation in 1979 and created her own foundation in 1987. In addition, named after them is the “Clore Foyer” and the “Duffield Room” in Britain.  

Also, there’s the Charles Clore Jewish-Arab Community Center, The Charles Clore Memorial Street, and he has a Hospital in his name, not to mention the Charles Clore memorial Horse Race.

Update: Benefactor Overboard: London’s Royal Opera House is ditching its greatest benefactor, Dame Vivien Duffield who has raised more than 100 million dollars for it and has personally donated millions more—perhaps as much as 25 million.  


The next owner is Alvin Lee:   

Alvin bought the house and then proceeded to build a complete recording studio with the help of his father Sam in the barn, it was the original Space Studios but is now being run by his ex-girlfriend Suzanne and their daughter Jasmine who also is working in the music business. 

At about the same time of the death of Sir Charles Clore in 1979 Alvin decided to give up his prized posession  Hookend Manor and moved elsewhere.  According to Alvin, his reasons for leaving were simple: The Manor House being centuries old was impossible to heat properly in the winter and something always needed to be repaired. The estate was so vast that Alvin once found a mate of his living there that he was completely unaware of.  Also according to Alvin, he found it ridiculous to be living in that big house.  

In a short conversation about Hookend Manor with the members of Ten Years After:

Leo, being of psychic ability as the title of his book in progress suggest “The Reluctant Psychic” told us very simply that he never felt comfortable there.

Chick never spent the night in the house as he lived so close by and he doubts the ghost stories or any misguided Monk roaming around the place.

Ric’s recollection I found more humorous as instead of being the least bit concerned with the wondering Monk coming to wake him up at 4:10 in the morning, I get the impression that he was  awake most of the night or at least not sleeping very well as he was just a little uncomfortable for a very different reason.

Alvin had waterbeads installed in every bedroom but the one Ric slept on had no working heater so the water was frijid, have you ever slept on a water bed with no heater he says?   

The house was then sold to David Gilmour who used one of the large buildings out back to store the monster inflateable Pink Floyd Pig.  David also moved out when allegedly, his wife Ginger couldn’t stand the ghosts any longer.  

Hookend Manor today is now "Sarms Recording Studios" and run by Trevor Horn, the producer of "Frankie Goes to Hollywood"










Photo Courtesy of Jasmin Lee (Dean Street Studios, London)














Mainly Music Oriented Clientele In Real Realty: Is how Alvin Lee and George Harrison became next door neighbours. Rumour has it, that their estates had adjoining backyards.  

Perry Press, who was the founder of Pereds, was a close friend of the following:

The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones), Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Rod Stewart, Paul and Linda McCartney, Peter Frampton, George and Pattie (Boyd) Harrison, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Peter Grant, Richard Harris, Alvin Lee, Ric Lee, Leo Lyons, John Entwistle, Roger Daltry and Keith Moon…the list goes on and on.

“A few of my musician friends had gone to America and come back with some dollars in their pockets, so they were now in a position to consider buying a house for themselves, rather than paying rent”. On the one hand, this was a good time for affluent, hairy upstarts to enter the upper echelons of the property market, particularly outside of London, where an increasing number of distinguished old and historical houses were proving to be too expensive for their now elderly owners to maintain any longer. On the other hand, reticence or just plain embarrassment would often inhibit these down at the heel proprietors from putting their country piles on the market. Back in the early 1970’s – “Almost nobody had any money then, except for the young creative, and overly ambitious types. The young ones who did have a good amount of disposable income at hand, didn’t have an appreciation for the splendour and joys of becoming a homeowner. If they were even the exception to that rule, they were in no way prepared to undertake the extensive amount of upkeep and costly maintenance involved on a yearly basis. What some thought of as glorious seclusion, with the peace and quiet that goes along with that cultural class privilege, others considered it to be, unacceptable, too remote and too boring. 

                                                      Alvin Lee  

It was Alvin Lee who was the first to lead the way, out into the country, running from the city as he wrote. The first purchase that Perry completed as a buyer agent, was when he hunted down a house known as “Robin Hood Barn” that was near Wokingham for Alvin.

Alvin Lee by then, was returning to England as a certified guitar god hero, having conquered the American, heart and soul, by way of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Ten Years After made their mark and never had to look for work or fame ever again. As Alvin was aptly born and bred in Nottingham. It wasn’t only Alvin who wanted to advance is lot in life, but the other members of the band also wanted to be part of the country lifestyle and bought homes in the countryside. Ric Lee had a big “Manor House” and Leo Lyons had horses, wagons and a farm of his own. Their needs were promptly fulfilled, in carefully selected areas within the Chilterns. 

                                                  George Harrison 

In a special request Perry placed an ad in the personal column of  The Times soliciting a response from anyone wishing to part with their large secluded country house of character.

The search was on to find his good friend George Harrison the perfect domicile, an estate like no other that would suit George’s desire for the unique, functional, beautiful, exotic and whimsical. George and Pattie had outgrown George’s psychedelic bungalow in Esher and very much wanted to move to somewhere a bit more spacious and defiantly private and secluded. It just so happened that that a community of nuns replied to the request, as they were contemplating selling their precious and prized convent. The convent was an old “High Victorian Gothic Folly” – with lakes and extensive grounds right on the edge of Henley- on – the – Thames. Called “Friar Park” which duly became George Harrison’s main home. The gardens became his magnificent obsession, for the remainder of his life.


There was a severe economic down-turn in the early 1970’s which caused a great deal of major belt-tightening elsewhere, but this in no way affected the earnings of Britain’s major rock stars who were at the top of their game.  

                                               Alvin Lee’s “Hookend Manor”   

Hookend Manor, was a house near Henley that was originally found for Alvin as a replacement, when his “Robin Hood Barn” was sold to a land developer for a kings ransom.

Alvin bought Hookend Manor in 1972 and sold it to David Gilmour in 1980.

John Entwistle – aquired his home from a very ince Jewish pig farmer. “Quarwood at Stow-on-the-Wold” in Glouestershire.

Roger Daltry – bought a lovely old ironmaster’s estate in East Sussex where Roger was able to set up the trout farm that he always wanted.

Keith Moon – who readily saw the merits of houses that Perry selected, there was merely the risk, that while house hunting, Moonies Pink Rolls Royce would unexpectedly be diverted while in route, and end up at a topless bar in St. James. In 1971, Keith did finally purchase a home from Peter Collinson, who was the film director responsible for the original version of “The Italian Job” and who blew up a Victorian House at St. Anne’s Hill – filming the dramatic demolition for a fee, that would amply cover the expected fine, for failing to secure the proper planning board permit and permission. He subsequently rebuilt it in contemporary style as a series of  pyramids that he considered to be virtually indestructible. But needless to say, Keith Moon proved him wrong about on that account.

Keith Moon’s “Tara Estate” in Chertsey, England.    




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