The History of Beaverbrook - Discover the Story

History

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Tales from a bygone era

Beaverbrook embraces the luxury of now in the true spirit of the past. The story of its most famous resident, Lord Beaverbrook, still remains interwoven throughout its walls.

A kingmaker, powerbroker (and sometime mischief maker), Lord Beaverbrook was a consummate politician, publicist of boundless energy, and great friend of Winston Churchill. His newspapers, the Daily Express and Sunday Express, could make or break almost anyone, and he hosted the great and the good at Beaverbrook during his time there. Take a look at the estate's visitor’s book and you'll see for yourself.

A Surrey estate steeped in history

1866

The origins of Beaverbrook

The late Victorian mansion, set among acres of prime Surrey parkland, is built for businessman Abraham Dixon.

Some 13 years later, in 1879, the man who would later be known as Lord Beaverbrook, Max Aitken, was born in Ontario, Canada.

1910

New ownership

Following the death of Abraham Dixon, the Surrey house and estate is put up for sale.

Whilst out driving with his friend Rudyard Kipling, Lord Beaverbrook noticed the 'For sale' sign. He purchased the property after a single inspection, paying £30,000.

1911

The transformation begins

Lord Beaverbrook spent a further £10,000 on improvements including the installation of electricity, heating, a swimming pool, and one of the UK's first home cinemas.

In the same year, he become an MP, was knighted by King George V, and bought a controlling interest in the Evening Standard.

1917

An elevation to The House of Lords

Beaverbrook is elevated to The House of Lords - taking the name "Beaverbrook" from a small community near his boyhood home.

1940

The war effort

During WWII, after Beaverbrook's friend, Winston Churchill, becomes Prime Minister,  Beaverbrook is appointed Minister of Aircraft Production.

He instigated the famous wartime 'Saucepans for Spitfires' campaign, asking people to give up their aluminium pans so that they could be melted down to make much-needed Spitfires.

An installation called "Radio Bungalow" is used to communicate with Europe throughout the war. Beaverbrook's Estate is reported to have been used as an alternative war bunker, hosting the entire war cabinet on occasions.

He is later appointed Minister of Supply, then Minister of War Production.

1945

A post-wartime era

After the war, Beaverbrook withdrew from politics, although he continued to support Churchill. His focus moved towards his business and newspaper interests, and to writing and publishing historical and political books.

1963

The later years

In 1963, Beaverbrook remarried the widow of his friend Sir James Dunn, Marcia Anastasia Christoforides.

A year later, he died, leaving the house to her.

It was here she remained until her death in 1994.

2007

Restoration begins

Following several years of restoration work of the house and gardens, Beaverbrook is opened to the public.

2011

A new era

The property is bought by Longshot Cherkley Court Ltd, who set about bringing the estate back to life whilst retaining its special character.