Alexandra at a young age
It all started a while ago, more specifically in 1926 when Count Anton Harald Silverswärdh, owner of the lands around Wallåkra, decided to build a mansion to stay in summertimes. His niece, Alexandra Silverswärdh, had at the young age of 16 already become an avowed horse owner and rider, always intent to challenge the next obstacle, and win. She was indeed a well known name in horse circles in Uppsala and in Scania (Skåne).
Count Anton decided to build Kwarnbacka Mansion, what now has become the Garden Hill Hotel. The mansion has always been more or less self contained, at the time of building it, it included a workers dwelling (this was currently separated and recently sold) a large stables and a hay silo as well as wells for potable water and a 3 step cleaning system for refuse. The stables perished in a fire in 1962.
Unfortunately, the business of Count Anton declined and especially during the years of the 2nd world war his mansion was approprited by the Swedish government. This was then secretely passed over to the Danish underground resistance so that they could have a safe headquarters close to the Danish mainland. Count Anton decided to support the resistance movement and found himself transporting arms and messages to the Danish side, all the time using his trusted Volvo PV and crossing with the ferries over Öresund.
Count Anton Harald Sillverswärdh
Count Anton:s wool factory in Stockholm was in 1940 ravaged by a fire and the Count was not in a financial position to rebuild it, so thus his main source of income was invalidated. The expropriation of Kwarnbacka rendered nothing but a minimal income so by the end of the war the now destitute Count hade let the mansion for rent. In 1946 his beloved niece had a riding accident and badly damaged her foot when her horse rolled on top of her. She never managed to walk well after that although riding always gave her that special feeling of lightness and allowing her to completely forget her disability.
The Count decided in 1949 to pass over to Alexandra whatever was left of the estate including the mansion. Alexandra moved there in 1950 in order to take up permanent residence in part of the mansion and the Count departed for South Africa the same year in order to speculate at three newly opened new diamond quarries. He was never again heard of and his fate is unknown although it was rumoured that he had an intimate life long relationship with Andrew, the colored foreman of one of the quarries that he had invested in.
Alexandra was deeply loved in Wallåkra, she was caring, observant, respectful and a good business person. Under her reign the area started flourishing, various crops were tested and the now famous Wallåkra Wheat was produced and always under Biodynamic cultivation schemes, perhaps one of the first farms in Sweden to grow crops organically.
Alexandra was careful about keeping the community together and she was doing this by inviting representatives of all families for a monthly resolution meeting in which reports were delivered, issues would be resolved and new ideas put forward. She was also extremely strict concerning the meeting times: Each monthly meeting would never exceed 45 minutes. Also, every Monday the week would start at the Wallåkra village square with a 10 minute standing meeting to handle the weekly issues and needs. Perhaps the pioneer of Agile project management?
In 1954 Alexandra fell in love with the village priest, Per Edwardsson, the son of a wealthy merchant family from Helsingborg. Unfortunately she became pregnant by Per and he decided to disavowe his unborn child and moved to Kiruna in the north of Sweden. Alexandra had a very difficult pregnancy but eventually gave birth to a lovely baby girl, later named Helena after her mother.
In 1965 Alexandra decided to open one of the first pret-a-porter fashion creators in southern Sweden and she named it after her beloved uncle and called it “Antony and Alexandra”. It was a huge success from the very start and soon Helena was part of it, showing a great flair for clothes manufacture. Exports to the USA and the middle east flourished and eventually, in 1962, Alexandra decided to move to New York, with her daughter, and pursue the business there. The mansion was eventually sold in 1997 to a wealthy Helsingborg businessman who in turn used it solely for letting purposes. The Kwarnbacka mansion was finally sold, in May 2018, to Bodil Fager from Sölvesborg, a leader and manager active in the social and health care sector, and the mansion began a new life as the Garden Hill Hotel.