Original features

October 30, 2008

Foxhill House, on the University of Reading's main Whiteknights campus, was built by the architect Alfred Waterhouse - who also designed London's Natural History Museum - on his father's property in 1869.

In 1890, an auctioneer's advertisement described it as a "Moderately Sized Gothic Mansion" with "first class stabling, a coachman's and gardener's cottages and a small farmery".

Waterhouse and his family lived in what was then known as Fox Hill for about ten years. Subsequent owners included Sir Rufus Isaac, first Marquis of Reading, Lord Chief Justice and Viceroy of India. Since covenants precluded development, the houses on the Whiteknights Estate were long maintained as country residences, and remained in private hands until 1969.

A Grade II listed building, Foxhill House was used as a hall of residence for 30 years before being restored to provide office accommodation for Reading's School of Law. Although the Turkish baths in the basement are gone, notable original features remain: two large ornate fireplaces; traceried windows on the main staircase, with its carved panels and moulded handrails; and the window set into the mantelpiece in what is now "the moot room".

Send suggestions for this architectural series to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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