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Bearwood House
Hurst, Berkshire

Bearwood is one of the great country houses of England. A place where there still traditions which made Britain great in the nineteenth century. The mansion is an example of Victorian architecture in the muscular Jacobean style. It was the home of the Times newspaper. John Walter, the proprietor of the newspaper built the mansion at the zenith of the paper's reputation. The bricks and wood from the estate were used in the building of the mansion and also in the construction of the Times' offices in Printing House Square, London.

The house itself shows us two faces - the strong masculine grand appearance of the Northern facade and the more gentle South. Two towers dominate. On the North side the great staircase tower stands solid and uncomprimising looking down the avenue of Wellingtonias, on the softer South front the water tower to the right of the terrace is no less definite in the mock seventeenth century facade.

The house is entered through the pillars of the porte-cochere and visitors are greeted by the intricate detail of the oak hall screen. To the left is the Hall with its leather pressed and gilded wallpaper. The central room of the mansion is the Picture Gallery. John Walter had inherited a large collection of Flemish pictures from his father and instead of designing a gallery shut off on its own, Robert Kerr sensibly made it a top lit thoroughfare into which the main reception roans opened. Today the paintings you see are the works of the College pupils (ages 11 - 18 years). The Library features a beautiful ceiling and inlaid sliding doors. in the time of the Walter family the library was the main drawing room with lovely views across West Lawn.

Since 1921 Bearwood has been a school and the building has found a new and worthy purpose. The Chapel, dining hall, gymnasium, classrooms, laboratories etc, which combine to give all the needs of the modern day school boy, have been added since the quieter days when the Walter family were resident. From the South terrace you are invited to walk to the main lake, 44 acres in size and formed in the early nineteenth century by flooding the brick pits and constructing a nearby dam. During the last sixty years, acknowledging the magnificent gift from its benefactors, the school supports and enhances the fine buildings. The estate of 500 acres is also much appreciated as it develops and expands.

Bearwood is currently a Private School for Boys.

 

    Nash Ford Publishing 2002. All Rights Reserved.