Huge 67-room manor intended for engineer Brunel goes on the market

Laura Hampson
·2-min read
This 67-room manor has just gone on the market (SWNS)
This 67-room manor in Devon has just gone on the market. (SWNS)

A sweeping 67-room manor, once intended as the retirement home of famed civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, has gone on the market.

The sprawling property in Torquay, Devon, which was designed for Brunel, best known for work including Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Thames Tunnel, has gone on sale for an undisclosed price.

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Rhiannon Charles, from estate agent Savills, said: “This is a spectacular building with lots of potential for a variety of uses.

"It’s been kept in good condition by the current owners, and could be refurbished into apartments or a hotel."

The site was originally intended as a retirement home for civil engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (SWNS)
The site was originally intended as a retirement home for civil engineer Brunel. (SWNS)

It is believed that Brunel chose the English Riviera as the place of his retirement after buying land there in the 1840s and 1850s.

However, he died in 1859 before the house could be completed.

Paper manufacturer James Crompton took over the site in 1873 and built a house on Brunel's foundations.

He changed the exterior style from Italianate to French, and called it Watcombe Park.

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Savills' listing describes Brunel Manor as “a handsome High Victorian house with eclectic detail, preserving most of its original fittings”.

Over the years, the 67-bedroom home has housed notable MPs, aristocrats, businessmen and, during the Second World War, the Stockwell College of Education.

The manor is now being sold for an undisclosed amount (SWNS)
The manor is now being sold for an undisclosed amount. (SWNS)

In recent decades the manor, which was re-named in favour of its originator, housed the Woodlands House of Prayer, as a Christian retreat centre and hospitality venue.

Inside, the manor has high ceilings, ornate plasterwork and fireplaces, and large bay windows overlooking the grounds.

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