The Mansion at Gorse Hill was built in 1910 for John Ingram , an underwriter at Lloyds.
John Ingram had commissioned Edward Prioleau Warren (1856-1937) a British Architect of renown to design the house.
Edward Warren was known for designing churches and parts of the Oxford Colleges (Baliol, Merton and St Johns). He also worked for the War Graves Commission after WW1 having been appointed principal architect for Mesopotamia in 1919.
He was responsible for the design of the Basra Memorial to the missing in Iraq.
Principally however Edward Warren designed country houses.
When in 1912 the Titanic , the largest and most luxurious liner in the world sank , John Ingram lost his fortune along with it and consequently was unable to make Gorse Hill his home.
Gorse Hill then had a series of owners until WW2, when the fortunes of the house plummeted to their lowest depths.
A 500lb bomb destined for the railway line fell and exploded in the grounds of the house. Gorse Hill was abandoned and stood neglected save for the attentions of the Home Guard and Civil Defence who used it as a base.
Shortly after the war, in 1947, it became the Southern Railway Training College. In 1959 the British Transport Commission took over the College and its function was enlarged to embrace all sections of nationalised transport. To accommodate the extra students the C shaped Annexe was built in 1958 providing more bedrooms, syndicate rooms and a lecture hall.
The Library of the College was opened in November 1967 by Mrs Barbara Castle who was Minister for Transport.
In the late 1980s after de nationalisation of the railways it was bought by Style Conferences and in turn in the late 1990s was bought by Initial who renamed the Style Conferences to Initial Style Conferences and continued to run it as a residential training venue for its clients.
In December 2005 the Alternative Hotel Group (AHG) bought Initial Style Conference Centres of which Gorse Hill was a part and the group became known as Verve Venues. In 2006 AHG bought the De Vere Group in a hostile takeover and absorbed Verve Venues into the enlarged group as its specialist meeting and training brand which became known as De Vere Venues
In March 2014 the De Vere Group sold the De Vere Venue brand to Starwood Capital who incorporated into their Principal Hayley Group of Hotels. Starwood Capital decided in 2015 to divest of its smaller properties which included Gorse Hill.
In January 2017 Active Hospitality purchased Gorse Hill and have at last brought it back into private ownership.
During 2017 Active Hospitality commenced the refurbishment of the Mansion House to bring Gorse Hill back to its former glory and create a bespoke private residential and non residential meeting and training facility together with a new conference centre to be built in the grounds in the same style as the original Mansion House , increase the number of bedrooms , create an a la carte restaurant and bar together with guest leisure and gym facilities to bring the whole property into the 21st Century as a leading hotel leisure and conference centre set up for the requirements of the corporate and leisure user alike.
We hope to see you at Gorse Hill soon.