Andrew Brownsword

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Andrew Douglas Brownsword CBE DL (born 1947) is an English entrepreneur who established the Forever Friends company. He has regularly featured on the Sunday Times Rich List, with an estimated fortune of £190 million.[1]


Brownsword attended The Harvey Grammar School in Folkestone and then trained as a chef.


He started the Andrew Brownsword Collection, a publishing business founded in Bath in 1971. Brownsword started by selling greeting cards to retailers like WH Smith from boxes out of the back of his car.

In 1987, he agreed to market artist Deborah Jones Teddy Bear design, developing the Forever Friends genre in a flat above a Chinese takeaway in Reading, Berkshire in the early 1980s:[2]

"I wanted to develop a teddy bear that appealed to adults as well as children. I based Forever Friends specifically on the teddy bear that Sebastian Flyte carried around in Brideshead Revisited. It became the bear found in the attic."

The success created a financial income to develop the Andrew Brownsword Group, based on greetings cards and associated gifts with a peak turnover of £65 million. The Andrew Brownsword Collection, Andrew Brownsword Gifts and the Gordon Fraser Gallery (the latter acquired in 1989),[3] were acquired by Hallmark Cards in 1994 for an estimated £195 million.[4] Brownsword became Chief Executive of Hallmark in Europe, a position which he held for four and a half years before leaving to develop other business interests.

In the late 1990s he commissioned the artist John Pascoe to paint the reception room ceiling of his Royal Crescent home in Bath.

Brownsword has used these monies to purchase property and hotels forming the group, Andrew Brownsword Hotels (The Bath Priory, Gidleigh Park in Devon, and Sydney House in Chelsea, London). In 2006 ABode Hotels was created as a city centre boutique hotel brand (of which the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter was destroyed by fire in 2016);.[5] With the demise of Von Essen hotels in 2011, Andrew Brownsword Hotels acquired four properties; Buckland Manor, Amberley Castle, Lower Slaughter Manor & The Slaughters Country Inn, expanding the collection. Andrew Brownsword Hotels expanded again to 14 hotels in 2016 with the purchase of the Old Swan & Minster Mill in Oxfordshire and The Imperial Torquay.

Brownsword also purchased various businesses including Paxton & Whitfield cheesemonger in London and Snow and Rock;[6] founding local radio station Bath FM with journalist and local resident Jonathan Dimbleby;[7] and buying Bath Rugby.[8]

In April 2010, Brownsword sold Bath Rugby to businessman Bruce Craig.


The Andrew Brownsword Art Foundation is a registered charity which aims to buy and loans works of art to mainly UK based museums.[9] The collection includes works by Thomas Gainsborough.[10]

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to the arts, heritage, and health in Bath and South-West England.[11]

Brownsword is also a member of the charitable Society of Merchant Venturers.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Brownsword Hall, the marketplace in Prince Charles's new town development of Poundbury, funded by and named after Brownsword

Married to Christina, Brownsword has two daughters and lives in the week in London, and at the weekend in their various homes in the West Country.[13] Brownsword enjoys skiing and sailing.

A methodist,[14] having become heavily involved in The Prince's Trust, he is known to Prince Charles[15] Brownsword sponsored the £1 million development of the markethall at Poundbury, designed by architect, John Simpson & Partners and based on early designs, particularly the one in Tetbury.[16]

His renovated holiday home, Kittery Court in Kingswear, Devon, was destroyed in a fire caused by a plumber in April 2007.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Estate up £10m for landowner Archived 11 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Michael Durham (10 August 2004). "Are we soft?". Guardian Unlimited. London: Guardian.
  3. ^ "Hallmark Acquisition". The New York Times. 17 November 1993. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Hallmark to buy U.K. company. (Hallmark Cards, Andrew Brownsword Group)". Supermarket News.[dead link]
  5. ^ Martin Fullard, "Royal Clarence Hotel owner has “every intention to rebuild” after fire", Conference News, 31 October 2016 Archived 8 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 31 October 2016
  6. ^ Snow+Rock sold Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Appraisal of Bristol/North Somerset award
  8. ^ Bath Rugby : Rec Development Update – You Can Make A Difference Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Thomas Gainsborough. George Byam with His Wife Louisa and Their Daughter Selina, c.1762, and reworked by 1766. Oil on canvas, 249 x 238.8 cm. The Andrew Brownsword Arts Foundation. On long-term loan to the Holburne Museum of Art, Bath Photo: © The Andrew Brownsword Arts Foundation, Bath Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "No. 60895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2014. p. b9.
  12. ^ "Our Members". The Society of Merchant Venturers. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  13. ^[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Acts of stupidity drag Bath Rugby's name through the mud again". Bath Press. 20 May 2009. Archived from the original on 23 May 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2009.
  15. ^ Haldenby, Andrew. "Article". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 14 September 2012.
  16. ^ Haldenby, Andrew. "Culture, Arts and Entertainment". The Daily Telegraph. London.

External links[edit]