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School House Eversholt

School House February 2016
School House February 2016

School House dates from the 18th century and, from the mid-19th century into the 20th century was used as the residence for the head teacher at Eversholt School and their family. In 1885, when the school became a Board School, a new master moved into the Eversholt schoolhouse. He was a Yorkshireman named Benjamin Wild. He had two young sons – John Robert Francis (1873-1939), always known as Frank and Henry Ernest (1879-1918), always known as Ernest. These two grew up to be polar explorers. Frank was the more famous of the two and served on Antarctic explorations with both Scott and Shackleton; indeed, he was Shackleton’s second-in-command in his Trans-Arctic Expedition of 1914 to 1916 and on the Shackleton-Rowlett Expedition to Antarctica in 1921-1922.

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting the property [DV1/C131/132] found it was no longer used as the school house. It was owned by the Duke of Bedford’s London and Devon Estates Company and tenanted by Mrs Shaw whose rent was £16 per annum (before the Great War rent had been £12 per annum).

The house contained a lounge, three reception rooms, a kitchen, a scullery and a pantry on the ground floor, with two cellars beneath, and five bedrooms and a boxroom on the first floor. Outside stood a wood barn and a garage along with a washhouse. The valuer commented: “Lovely. Rent ridiculous but no Bath”.