Eagle House, Wimbledon
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|Notes / History||Eagle House, Wimbledon
The name of this fine house dates from the Victorian era. Now more familiar as an Islamic Cultural Centre, the property is actually Jacobean and was built c.1617, for Robert Bell, a wealthy London merchant. Subsequent owners included the M.P. William Grenville, a cousin of Prime Minister, William Pitt.
In 1790, it was purchased at a cost of £2.300, by Reverend Thomas Lancaster and became the first public school in Wimbledon.
Reverend Lancaster a village schoolmaster, subsequently ordained as a minister, moved to Wimbledon during the late 18th century.
His first school at Parson’s Green had suffered excessive competition for pupils and he calculated that Eagle House, with its fine brick façade and picturesque gardens, would be more likely to impress parents.
The Wimbledon school for young Noblemen and Gentlemen opened in 1790. Students were taught reading, writing and elocution, in addition to Arithmetic, Geography and History. As befitted the sons of the wealthy, the school curriculum also included several languages, including Latin, Greek and French. Lessons were learned by heart and progress was monitored with weekly tests.