A fitting story for The Old Printworks in Frome  

April 19, 2023

It seems particularly fitting that behind every new resident’s move to The Old Printworks in Frome – where Penguin first started publishing books – there is a fascinating personal story to be told. That is certainly the case with Sophie Bee who moved to the historic site after discovering there is really something special in the West Country air – particularly around the Somerset Levels.

For the Bath-born mother-of-two has revealed that she was inspired to relocate from the Midlands to Frome after witnessing the nearby spectacular starling murmuration – a huge shape-shifting black cloud of countless birds swooping and diving together. Sophie now lives in Acorn Property Group’s award-winning The Old Printworks development – the site of the former Butler, Tanner and Dennis printing press, where the first Penguin books were produced in 1935.

It has certainly proved to be a successful move for entrepreneurial Sophie who has brought her own thriving yoga teaching business to the picturesque market town and business is booming – after witnessing local nature at its mesmerising best. “The murmuration was an absolutely stunning sight and confirmed to me that it was high- time I came back home to Somerset,” Sophie said. “It was beautiful, powerful and so profound that it honestly felt as if I was being called back to the South West of England.

“I’d always loved life here when I was growing up in nearby Bath, but this felt like irrefutable proof that the time was right to return to the area from Nottingham where we’d been living.

“I believe it’s been one of the best decisions of my life. It’s amazing for my young children and fantastic to know that we live in a place which has such a special niche in Britain’s rich publishing history as well.”

Sophie had high expectations of Frome but admits that they have all been exceeded since she moved into her new-build home at The Old Printworks, a 1.5-acre site located off Caxton Road.

“I had a feeling it would be a great place, but it’s been even better than I imagined,” Sophie said.

“The outdoor surroundings are stunning but we’ve also got a super place we call home, with a contemporary style and impressive eco-credentials which are important to us.

“As well as big windows and light flooding into our home, there are eco-stock bricks and triple-glazing.

“Plus, there’s a big emphasis on biodiversity across the Old Printworks which is a site that’s been invigorated by Acorn Property Group.”

Sophie has also been bowled over by the personal touch of Acorn Property Group staff and her new neighbours.

“The Acorn team really helped me find my feet and when I first arrived,” she said.

“I arranged a painting party and the response showed what a strong sense of community there is in Frome.

“Not only did lots of people share their skills – and drills – but it was also a super way to make friends.

“I hit the ground running in lots of ways and now we’ve not only got a lovely home but it’s also a great place to base my yoga practice.

“Our home is right in the heart of Frome but it’s lovely and quiet, so perfect for yoga.”

Now former schoolteacher Sophie, who is a member of the national Yoga Alliance accreditation organisation, is looking to branch out as a yoga teacher in and around Frome.

“There’s no end to the benefits of yoga to people of all ages when it comes to physical and mental well-being,” Sophie added.

“From a yoga point of view, I feel as though Frome is the idea place for me to be based because it’s such an open-minded community.”

Sophie says her new home will provide the platform for her yoga work to prosper.

“I’m pleased to say there’s been an enthusiastic response to my classes which is really encouraging,” she said.

“I’m even looking to take the idea to young people by introducing the delights of yoga to young people at local schools.

“Our home works well as a base for my yoga work because it’s a relaxing, spacious and airy environment which benefits from enjoying plenty of natural light.

“There’s even a pathway leading down to the picturesque banks of the River Frome if we want a change of scenery.

“The site has been converted beautifully. As well as lovely new homes, it’s reassuring to know our new community has the same access to local nature they enjoyed when printing books was in full swing.”


  • Phase 2 at The Old Printworks is now over 75% sold. Four-bedroom homes are available from £490,000 and just one three-bedroom home available from £420,000 with more to follow during Phase 3 of the development. Show Homes are open daily from 10am to 5pm. Click here for more info.

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