|Motto||Scholae Semper Fidelis|
|Type||Independent day and boarding school|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Academic Deputy||George D. Penlington|
|Chairman of Governors||Mrs E. Langley|
|DfE URN||110137 Tables|
|Ages||3 months–18 years|
|Patron||Queen Elizabeth II|
In about 1830, John Walter (1776–1847), owner of The Times newspaper, purchased the 5,000-acre (20 km2) estate in which the school is now located. His son, also called John Walter (1818–1894), employed architect Robert Kerr to build a mansion within it as his country seat. Erected 1865–74, it is one of the largest Victorian country houses in England. Nikolaus Pevsner describes it as "the climax [of country mansions], and in its brazen way one of the major Victorian monuments of England" and "as far as scale is concerned, and the disregard for what we pygmies would call domestic comfort, Bear Wood is indeed nearer to Blenheim than to our poky villas"
The bricks used in the building were created from clay extracted from what is now California Country Park, once part of the estate. A dam was constructed around the site, which was then flooded to form the 47-acre (19 ha) Longmoor Lake.
The mansion was acquired by Sir Thomas Devitt and Sir Alfred Yarrow after the First World War, and the Royal Merchant Navy School moved there from Snaresbrook in March 1921. The Royal Merchant Navy School was originally a Merchant Seamen's Orphanage, founded in October 1827 in the City of London. The purpose of the orphanage was to care for the children of those who were lost at sea, whilst educating them. By 1862, the orphanage with the support of Albert, Prince Consort (the husband of Queen Victoria) and John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (a British prime minister), had raised enough money to construct new buildings at Snaresbrook. In 1902, Edward VII approved the application of the title "Royal" to the establishment, and George V changed the name of the orphanage to the Royal Merchant Navy School. The school moved from Snaresbrook because of circumstances relating to the First World War.
By 1961, the number of orphans being cared for by the school had reduced compared to the number in the late 19th century, as a result of the smaller size of the British merchant fleet relative to the same period. The school then accepted fee-paying scholars, and changed its name to Bearwood College. From 1961 to 1996, the school allowed only boys to become pupils but now allows both sexes entrance. The school does continue to accept some orphans. The college has a preparatory school, which was opened in September 2007.
The College's facilities including the theatre, swimming pool, gymnasium and playing fields are used by a wide range of community groups, including Opera at Bearwood. The Victorian house is also extensively used for weddings and other events and has appeared in films. These include the 1986 television series Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy and, as the club 'Brydges', in the 2012 mini-series, Restless. Bearwood college has appeared in the second episode of the second series of ITV's Endeavour titled 'Nocturne', and in episodes of Midsomer Murders.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). The Buildings of England: Berkshire. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 45.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus (1966). The Buildings of England: Berkshire. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. p. 79.
- "History of Bearwood College". Bearwood College. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
- "Introduction to the Bearwood College Preparatory School". Bearwood College. Retrieved 2008-12-09.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bear Wood.|
- College website
- Profile on the ISC website
- Royal Berkshire history: Bearwood House
- Bearwood College Reviews on Independentschools.com