Sarah Beeny is an English property developer and television presenter, best known for presenting the Channel 4 property shows Property Ladder, Property Snakes and Ladders, Streets Ahead, Britain’s Best Homes, Help! My House is Falling Down, Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare, Double Your House for Half the Money and Sarah Beeny’s Selling Houses. Beeny was born in Reading, Berkshire, to Richard and Ann. Beeny has an elder brother, Diccon. The daughter of an architect for Bovis Homes, her mother loved the self-sustained outdoor life.
The family lived in two converted brick cottages in a nine-acre plot on the edge of the Duke of Wellington’s estate Stratfield Saye, in a style that Beeny describes as “a bit like The Good Life.” The family kept goats, chickens and ducks, while her father made dolls house furniture to raise extra cash. Beeny has described her family in this period as “…crafty-entrepreneurial but more craft than entrepreneurial.”
After her mother died aged 39 of breast cancer when Beeny was 10, she was educated as a weekly boarder at the all-girls Luckley-Oakfield School in Wokingham. Although her friends went to university, Beeny did not and was encouraged to study drama by her English teacher, taking a leading role in Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle.
Pursuing the idea of becoming a professional actress, she studied drama at Queen Mary’s College, Basingstoke, but failed to get into a drama school. Advised by her father and stepmother Trisha to get out and see the world, Beeny travelled around the world solo at the age of 17 and felt “lonely and seasick” most of the way round.
She returned to the UK to take a series of jobs, including: working for Save the Children; window cleaning; door-to-door vacuum cleaner selling and running her own sandwich making business. Assuming she would be self-employed for the rest of her life, at weekends, she would study the property market, which gave her a good grounding in the market.
Having saved up a deposit, without any formal training, Beeny began her own property developing business with her brother and her husband. Beeny is also the co-founder of the popular UK dating website Mysinglefriend, Beeny met her husband and business partner, Graham Swift, when she was 18 years old. Her brother is married to Swift’s sister, Caroline. Beeny and Swift have four sons. They have homes in Streatham, London and at Rise Hall, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
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