History and museums
Wivenhoe House is a luxury 4-star hotel located in Colchester, Essex.
Wivenhoe House's history began in 1759 when Isaac Rebow asked Thomas Reynolds to build the grade II-listed house. In 1816, owner Major-General Francis Slater Rebow commissioned John Constable to commit the house to canvas for the fee of 100 guineas. The painting is now displayed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
This was the same General Rebow who returned from the Peninsular Wars with two cork oak cuttings in his boots. Today, those two oak trees stand tall and proud within the grounds.
When General Rebow died in 1845 the estate passed to his son-in-law, future English Liberal Party MP John Gurdon Rebow. He commissioned the architect Thomas Hopper to remodel the House in 1846, and William Andrews Nesfield to advise on the relocation of the coach roads and entrances and to advise on the planting of the park and the flower garden.
John Gurdon Rebow died in 1870 and passed the estate to his son Hector Gurdon Rebow, during whose ownership Wivenhoe House survived England's worst-ever earthquake in 1884. The estate was sold Charles Edmund Gooch in 1902, and whilst within this family the house was requisitioned by the War Department during the two major conflicts of the 20th century. In World War II, the tank regiments stationed here scared off the fallow deer. The house once also served as the headquarters of the SAS.
C E Gooch's son, Charles Michael Gooch, sold Wivenhoe Park including Wivenhoe House to the University of Essex in 1964 under whose ownership it remains today. The University operated Wivenhoe House as a hotel, and added an extension between 1986-88 by local architect Bryan Thomas.
In 2012 the University re-opened the hotel having completed a £10m development. to the original house whilst adding a new garden wing. The original house was full refurbished in its original style, with the modern garden wing replacing the 1980s extension and increasing the size of the hotel.
The Edge Hotel School opened in 2012, and is a partnership between the University of Essex, the Edge Foundation and the charity, Edge Hotel School Ltd. Students work and learn in Wivenhoe House hotel.
The concept of the Edge Hotel School is unique in the UK, with students able to learn by doing as the basis of their degree qualifications whilst also learning the all important people skills essential for success in the hospitality industry.
Students experience for real all aspects of the operation of a commercial hotel guided by industry experienced professional practitioners. Students will leave the Edge Hotel School after 2 years with a fast track degree qualification in hospitality or culinary management plus the skills to be "work ready" for the industry.
The initiative is widely supported by the hospitality industry who have been involved in the development of the curriculum.
At a preview of the Edge Hotel School in April 2012 held at London's Ritz Hotel, the initiative was described as having "the potential to be a beacon of excellence for the hospitality industry and future generations of students" by Shadow Minister for Further Education, Skills and Regional Growth, Gordon Marsden.