Who is John Bellamy ?
People do question who runs Hamilton Hall after they see the web site and see all we do and how ' out there' we are as a leading light in gay mens spirituality and many question.
'What gives him the right ?'
'Why does he think he is so clever ' 'Who the fuck has the nerve to teach ME about sex '
'Who does he think he is ?' -
all very negative and resentful and says more about them.
or on a more positive note -
'I am searching for a spiritual guide - is this the man ?'
'I'm having a spiritual melt down, and need guidance, I wonder if this is the place.' 'My life is a mess and I need to go some place to get myself sorted '
'I want someplace I can feel safe in this awful gay world.'
Written in March 2000 and adapted a few years later by a client of mine - who was a sweet and loving friend.
By Christopher Ferrari
Your host at Hamilton Hall is John Bellamy, - LEFT - who originates from Bournemouth although moved away at the age of 16 and spent the first 8 years living on Guernsey in the Channel Isles with his first lover who was considerably older than John. They owned and ran a large and popular hotel and tea room on the island.
After over 8 years together, they split and John was left penniless, yet as John always had the ability to 'fall on his feet, it was not long before he was living with his next lover in the United States of America with extended periods on various Hawaiian Islands or in Mexico and travelled extensively during that period with his second partner.
Psychology - Body Energies and Massage Techniques / Bereavement & Addictions Therapy and an assortment of courses followed and enjoyed in order to grow as a human being and as John had interests in many things, and continues to this day to have an ' enquiring mind. '
His relationship with his partner in the USA came to an abrupt end and he found himself broke, homeless and almost destitute. This being John, he picked himself up, got himself organised and joined an escort agency as he knew he could make some good money quickly. Assuming it to be a temporary thing, John soon became a leading light in the London escort scene and as London was, and still is, the centre of the escort scene in Europe, John quickly rose to become one of the best sex workers for men in Europe.
During his time as a sex worker in London - 15 years in all, he was involved in all sorts of weird and wonderful things, saw thousands of clients and remained negative to all STD's throughout, which is testament to how well he ran his business. Safely. He also created an escort agency called 30PLUS - employing hundreds of escorts OVER the age of 30 - 'men not boys' - as he would say, and this proved to be hugely popular and busy.
Going from destitute to prostitute, - renting a flat he eventually bought off the landlord , he eventually bought a 4 bedroom 2 bathroom terrace house in Hammersmith and he was doing, and did, very well indeed. He was always legal as he paid tax, had an accountant and everything.
It was around this time that we first met and became originally a client ( yes I was one of his clients ) and we soon became friends and over the years - close friends. I was right impressed at his professionalism and his ability to create a wonderful atmosphere of peace and calm and to make people feel very welcome.
As a volunteer - he also hosted and ran The London Gay Naturist group for over 2 years hosting dozens of events and writing and editing their newsmagazine. AS a volunteer again, he was the editor of 'STRETCH' magazine for a non profit organisation and provided 'BUDDY WORK' for guys with HIV who needed an extra hand, a lift in the car and whatever he could do to help others who were in need.
Always 'putting something back' into a community that John felt lacked some soul. He was a voluntary Bereavement Therapist with the Lesbian & Gay Bereavement Project for 3 years.
Then he started his own GAY SPIRITUAL GROUP and this proved hugely popular with hundreds of members, scores of events at his house and eventually culminated in him renting the London University Students Building, twice, in 1998 and 1999 to host CONNECTIONS - 2 massive spiritual workshop days for up to 300 people with 28 different workshops provided by an assortment of world class facilitators, and with a lunch and everything, these were the beginning of gay spirituality coming ' out of the closet'. He produced ' The Pink Path' monthly newsletter for GSG members.
Eventually a new calling beckoned and he sold his London home, closed his escort business down, returned to Bournemouth where he grew up, and after a great and long journey, full of the usual stresses of selling and buying property, he bought Hamilton Hall Retirement Home and converted it into an hotel, much as we see today, and opened in July 2000 after a 4 month renovation and refurbishing of the entire venue. Opening as a Spiritual retreat for the gay world, it has changed and evolved over the years and as he says - 'SEXUAL, SPIRITUAL AND SELF DEVELOPMENT OF MIND, BODY AND SOUL OF MEN' and as a Not For Profit Venue and where he has only ever received expences and not a regular wage, Hamilton Hall has proven to be a bit like Marmite, you either love it - or hate it - or more to the point, everyone loves Hamilton Hall - it is John who admits to being the one you either love or hate, and as he says, it really is up to others what they feel and not him to adapt and be what others want him to be as if they have a problem with him, they can own it. Having written and published numerous newsletters and magazines as a volunteer, he also produced a quarterly magazine with 10,000 copies called ' The Vine' - on spiritual issues up and down the south coast, and having been on many charity boards and helped run various self help groups and been on several committees, he decided that Hamilton Hall was to be run by a Benign Dictator, - himself naturally,- as it was far easier than working with others who slow things down and where many who have nothing to add, just want to add something to hear their own voice and all it does is annoy, slow proceedings down and create havoc, so John works alone and it suits him and it seems to suit his business.