d-harper-house-c1913

Harper House, Hound Street, c.1913.

Harper House has been in continuous use as a school boarding house since 1873.

The private side of Harper House, originally known as The Retreat, was built c.1814 and was the property of the Digby family.  Amongst the earliest tenants was in c.1820 John Mills Thorne (1786-1865), a brewer, banker and School Governor.  Thorne purchased the land to the south of the property to create an extended garden with a serpentine driveway and an entrance from Long Street.

The Rev. John Blanch (1842-1907) purchased the freehold of The Retreat, added boarding accommodation and opened it as a school boarding house in January 1873.  Blanch also purchased the garden to the west and turned it into a kitchen garden.  Around 1896, Blanch sold the southern section of the garden adjoining Long Street.  In 1910, The Retreat was renamed Harper House after Headmaster Hugo Daniel Harper.  A new block was built by K.B. Tindall, allowing a considerable increase in numbers.  In 1931 the School Governors purchased the property from the housemaster R.W. Macfarlane-Grieve.  New studies were built in 1971-1972, and the property was refurbished in 1994-1995, with the addition of new study bedrooms, modern facilities for showering, changing and storing sports kit, a warm oak-panelled reading room/library, a television room, large common rooms, small kitchenettes, and an environmentally-friendly boiler.

In the garden to the west is the Shell House, a summer house with a shell and seaweed ceiling and a conical thatched roof.  The first reference to the Shell House appears in 1791 in the will of Thomas Gollop (1746-1793).

Former pupils of Sherborne School who have boarded at Harper House include Hugh Bonneville (1977-1981), Christopher Chataway (1944-1949), Cecil Day-Lewis (1917-1923), W.F. Evans (1873-1876), Peter Oborne (1970-1974), John Pardoe (1948-1953), James Purefoy (1977-1980), C.F. Stanger-Leathes (1893-1899).

House letter: d.

House colours: light blue and black.

Housemasters:
1873  John Blanch (1842-1907)
1901  Thomas Alfred Bell (1864-1940)
1910  William James Bensly (OS) (1874-1943)
1913  Kenneth Bassett Tindall (1884-1976)
1920  Armine Wodehouse Fox (1869-1947)
1929  Reginald William Macfarlane-Grieve MC (1887-1934)
1934  Ralph Mitford Marriot Barlow (1904-1977)
1948  John Turcan Melvin (1916-1999)
1959  Derek James Wilson Bridge (1921-2012)
1974 Anthony Edwin Rouse (1935-2005)
1983 D. Philip Jones
1994  G. Charles Allen
1999  Simon Tremewan PhD
2010  Jeremy Wadham PhD

Online Resources:

 

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