HISTORIC Wordsley Manor has been snapped up by a 20-year-old student from London - keen to get on the property ladder, the News can reveal.

Hamza Chowdry, a pharmacy student at Keele University, saw the Grade II listed manor house advertised on the internet while web browsing for his first property and decided to try and bid for the landmark home when it went under the hammer at SDL Auctions Bigwood’s December auction at Villa Park.

He wasn't able to attend the auction in person so his dad Steve Chowdry went along and managed to secure the 18th century manor house for £318,000.

Steve, a project manager, told the News: "My wife and I had driven to see the property just before the auction and told Hamza all about it and he was certainly up for a challenge of a lifetime.

"He wanted to bid but unfortunately he had lectures all day so he sent me instead and I was very lucky to have secured the winning bid."

He described the purchase as something of an "impulse buy" but said he knew his son would fall in love with the grandeur and character of the property which went on the market after former owner Christopher Firmstone decided to sell up - having devoting many years to trying to restore it to its former glory.

The house, which dates back to around 1727, had been in the ownership of the same family for more than 170 years.

It was originally a house in a park, built for industrialist John Holt, and it was acquired in the 1850s by Mr Firmstone’s great-great-grandfather – a member of the Hodgetts glass-making family.

His daughter Mary eventually inherited the house and her eldest son, George Firmstone, who hailed from a long line of Black Country ironmasters, took possession in 1924.

His children, Cicely and Eldon, indulged their enthusiasm for the arts - and Eldon, a musician, installed a cinema organ in the house, made records and even built a 49-seat private cinema on the top floor with projection room, box office and waiting area.

After inheriting the four-storey house – esteemed architect Christopher Firmstone set about breathing new life into it as a family home.

But time took its toll and in recent years the six-bedroom property, which once housed a brewery on site, had been in much-need of restoration.

To help fund remedial work before he sold the property Mr Firmstone sold off part of the manor house grounds for development - which still left the imposing period home with a substantial 1.5-acres.

A planning application for 14 new homes was approved with a clause requiring the developer to carry out a programme of restoration works on the property as and when each house is built and sold on the development.

Jason Lee, head of auction at SDL Auctions Bigwood, said: “This is intended to go some way to the restoration of the wings and further works to the main house."

In days gone by the east wing used to house the servants’ quarters while the west wing contained the coach house, tack room, saddlery and a forge.

Both wings, however, and parts of the main house are currently in need of renovation.

Mr Chowdry admits renovating the property will likely be "a big job" but he said his son has big ambitions and the property, which went on the market with a guide price of £230,000 plus fees, was a bargain compared to London prices.

He said: "In London you get a one-bedroom flat for that; it was really value for money. Obviously it needs a lot of work and money spent on it; it's going to be a massive project but when you look at it - you're getting a manor house."

He said the family hope to visit the property over Christmas and Mr Chowdry added: "I expect Hamza will come up with a lot of brainwaves and ideas on what his plans will be and what he wants to do with it.

"Hamza’s sister Heena Jemima, also a pharmacy student, at University College, London, is extremely excited too and very proud of her brother.

"We also have two younger children Harris, aged nine, and Hooria, aged seven, who can’t wait to see the manor house that Hamza has just bought."

Hamza said: "I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with it but it looks like a great property."