Beaverbrook, Surrey – a big-budget vision of a fantasy England

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What does “English” look like? In these tricky times for both question and possible answers, the latest chapter in the story of Beaverbrook – built as Cherkley Court in the late 19th century and, famously, the home of press baron and first Minister of Aircraft Production Lord Beaverbrook – offers a few feel-good suggestions. 

As someone who, when overseas, always answers the question “Are you… British?” with “No, I’m a Londoner”, I was surprised how taken I was with Beaverbrook’s rural, Home Counties nostalgia. If Soho Farmhouse is Center Parcs for East London stylists, this is something more sophisticated. I don’t want my flat in Hackney to look anything like Beaverbrook, but I was more than happy to holiday in its floral textiles and wallpapers. 

The interiors, by Susie Atkinson, display an authentically Victorian sensibility for jumbling things that shouldn’t go together but do – shagreen-surfaced bedside tables and lace lampshades; minibars decorated with seashells; Nicky Haslam textiles and Veere Grenney wallpaper. There is no overt “wow” factor at Beaverbrook, apart from perhaps the Rupert Bevan-constructed Twenties-style brass counter in the Parrot Bar, but that’s the point: it’s grand yet homely.

The main House and the more informal and family-friendly Garden House – originally built as an overspill property for Lord Beaverbrook’s guests – opened earlier this year, and both have bedrooms. A spa block will open in spring 2018. The golf club is already here; its fees are rumoured to be in excess of £100,000 (Surrey is nothing if not moneyed) and there is zero access for anyone other than members. Beaverbrook guests are unlikely to even know it exists.



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