Claremont Drive, Esher, Surrey, KT10 9LYTel: 01372 467841Email: info@claremont.surrey.sch.uk

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History

The Claremont estate has a rich and fascinating history, a summary of which can be found below. Alternatively you can download a copy of A Brief History of Claremont. For further information please read The Story of Claremont and The Chronicle of Claremont School, both by Phyllis M Cooper, and Fan Court School, 1932 - 1968 by JRM Butler.

1709 - 1714 Sir John Vanbrugh

He bought the estate and built the first house.

1714 - 1769 The Duke of Newcastle

He bought the house and commisioned Vanbrugh to enlarge it and create the gardens on a lavish scale, including building the Belvedere on the 'mount' in 1715. As Prime Minister he entertained George II here.

1769 - 1774 Lord Clive

Demolished the Duke’s house because it was on a damp site and old fashioned. Clive commissioned Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to build him the present house and remodel the park. His family kept the estate after his death until 1786.

1786 - 1787 Viscount Galway

Viscount Galway.

1787 - 1802 The Earl and Countess of Tyrconnel

The Earl and Countess of Tyrconnel

1802 - 1816 Charles Rose Ellis MP (later Baron Seaford)

Charles Rose Ellis MP (later Baron Seaford)

1816 - 1865 Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg

On the occasion of their marriage in 1816, the Government granted Claremont to them for life which entitled Prince Leopold, later King of the Belgians, to retain it for his own use after the early death of the Princess in 1817. Leopold had an annual income of £50,000, much of which he spent on improvements to the house and estate.

1848 - 1866 Louis Philippe and Marie-Amelie

They resided at Claremont, by invitation of Leopold, after Louis Philippe had been deposed as King of the French and had been forced to flee France with all his family. He died at Claremont in 1850.

1865 - 1901 Queen Victoria

Her mother, the Duchess of Kent, was Leopold’s sister. As a child Victoria spent long periods at Claremont and continued her interest in the place for the whole of her life. After Leopold’s death the estate reverted to the Crown and Parliament granted it to the Queen for her life. Later she acquired personal ownership of it.

1879 - 1922 The Duke and Duchess of Albany

Queen Victoria granted the house to the Duke, her youngest son, on his marriage to Princess Helena of Waldeck. The Duke died aged 30 shortly before the birth of their son Charles.

1922 - 1926 Sir William Corry

As director of the Cunard Shipping Line he made many improvements to the interior of the mansion and began to sell off the park for housing development.

1926 - 1930 Claremont Estates Ltd

A property development company that continued to sell off parts of the estate, leaving the mansion and a small area around it which were offered for sale.

1930 - 1978 Claremont School

The Governors bought the mansion, and later acquired other areas including White Cottage and the walled garden, the top fields and the present playing fields.

1978 - today Claremont Fan Court School

Claremont amalgamated with Fan Court, a boys' prep school, to become Claremont Fan Court School.