Marquess of Milford Haven: The man behind Sussex’s international polo hub
Many aristocrats enjoy playing polo, but it could be said that the Marquess of Milford Haven has many other interests other than his love for the sport.
George Milford Haven was the founder of uSwitch.com, the leading energy price comparison website in the UK. Since its inception in the year 2000, uSwitch grew a reputation as a Consumer Champion, allowing users to compare, switch and save money on their energy tariffs thanks to the deregulation laws which were passed at the time.
uSwitch.com was sold to American company EW Scripps in 2006 for a reported 210 million pounds. That left the Marquess of Milford Haven more time to focus on other business interests as well as, one of his passions, polo.
The descendant of the Russian monarch Catherine the Great, came across a site, the 1,000-acre Trippetts Farm in Sussex, and decided that it could become a hub for polo; not just in the UK, but for the polo playing world.
It is now one of the largest polo yards in the country, being the home of four high-goal teams, including the Broncos, which the Marquess of Milford Haven himself plays for. The statistics on Trippetts farm take some reading – there are 26 paddocks which house 350 ponies – and digs for up to 70 grooms to tend to them.
The facilities are viewed as second to none. He has looked closely at the very best facilities and attempted to use them in the design of Trippets. Take the accommodation of the grooms themselves, for example. These top equine professionals, from locations as far flung as South America, are put up in deluxe cabins and want for nothing. They are fed nutritious, healthy meals in the Trippetts canteen, and in their downtime, can play table football or pool in the lounge area.
The construction of Trippetts, started once the Marquess of Milford Haven had cleared the original site, which was originally a dairy farm. After removing the cows, another issue reared its head – the large volume of ground water under the site, which required a drain network be installed in order to make the soil suitable for horses. Years later, with Trippetts in full swing, there have even been plans for an all-weather polo ground, subject to planning permission.
The Marquess of Milford Haven can be seen in action at events such as the Holden White Cup and Jubilee Cup. Naturally, the Broncos team take a headline slot at Trippetts – they are the longest running high goal team in the UK, having started as far back as 1987. Many overseas players base themselves at Trippetts during the UK polo season, and although Trippetts is not classed as a commercial enterprise, it is still seen as vitally important to the sport in the UK.
Two of the Marquess of Milford Haven’s children play polo, and his daughter is involved in dressage. What the Marquess of Milford Haven demonstrates aside from his passion for polo, is that the determination and persistence to succeed in business is quite often replicated in the sports world.
If you are ever in Sussex in the summer, there are not many more idyllic spots than Trippetts Farm when set up for a polo match.