Downton Abbey has been off the air for over a year now, but fans of the period drama continue to visit its filming locations in droves. Case in point: Bampton—a small town in West Oxfordshire where a number of scenes were shot over the show's six-season run—saw record visitors to its Downton-related attractions last year.
"The series over the years has had a very positive effect on Bampton and last year more than 30,000 fans came to visit the Old Grammar School, where we sell souvenirs and our own Downton memorabilia," Bampton Community Archive chairman Robin Shuckburgh told the Oxford Times. "The total number of visitors was about 10,000 more than the previous two years."
In total, these tourists have raised more than £100,000 toward the restoration of the historic school building. Stars of the show including Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, and Samantha Bond have also contributed to the effort, but the generosity goes both ways. "Normally, you know, when filming comes the first day everyone's terribly excited—'wee isn't this thrilling'—and then by about the third month people get fed up with it," show creatorJulian Fellowes said of the Bampton citizens in December of 2015. "But they have remained supportive and hospitable right through the whole filming period."
"We are so grateful to them."
The citizens of Bampton are hopeful that a film adaptation could extend the life of this so-called "Downton effect" on their economy.
"I'm sure the vast majority of residents in Bampton would love to see a Downton movie," Shuckburgh said.
Us too, Mr. Shuckburgh, us too.