A COLOURFUL HISTORY
Wivenhoe House’s fascinating history stretches back to 1759 when Isaac Rebow asked Thomas Reynolds to build the mansion house, which is now Grade II listed.
Set in the grounds of Wivenhoe Park the hotel and surroundings were immortalised in canvas by renowned British artist John Constable, when he was commissioned by the then owner Major-General Francis Slater Rebow in 1816. The resulting painting now hangs in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
This painting of Wivenhoe House was commissioned by the owner, General Rebow in 1816. ‘Wivenhoe Park, Essex’ by John Constable, Wiedener Collection. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
This was the same General Rebow who returned from the Peninsular Wars with two cork oak cuttings in this boots. Today, those oak trees stand tall and proud in the substantial grounds.
The house survived England’s worst-ever earthquake in 1884, which loosened a few chimney pots. It was requisitioned by the War Department during the two major conflicts of the 20th century and photos exist of Sir Winston Churchill inspecting the troops here in World War Two.
Other famous visitors include Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the late Nelson Mandela.
In 1964 the hotel entered a new stage in its life as the original home as the University of Essex.
It has now been reborn as the four-star Wivenhoe House hotel, home of the Edge Hotel School, a unique education concept within the UK.