Bitterne Grove

Build date: Possibly 1759Extant: Currently standing empty
Built for: Possibly Thomas DicksonMuch extended 1780s with rounded ‘wings’
and 1920s with an extra floor

Thought to be built in 1759, possibly by Thomas Dickson, and certainly occupied in 1786 when it was auctioned having “four rooms per floor”. Sold to Richard Leversuch in 1786 or 1787 and, we believe  it was then that this pre-existing house was enlarged by the addition of wings on each end.

Purchased by the eccentric James Dott, a former East India Company surgeon, in 1793. After his death in 1844, Bitterne Grove passed to Alexander Hoyes who in turn passed away 1875. In 1878 the property and land were sold for £6,600 to Major Thomas Bramston Hamilton R A. His widow continued to live at the house until c1900 when it was acquired by I H Sanders (but occupied by Mrs Bramwell).

Bitterne Grove was purchased by French Catholics who first used it to train priests and then in 1922 opened a boarding and day school for boys, St Mary’s College. Subsequent additions to the building were a chapel and a fourth storey to the house itself. The school closed in 2020 having gone into administration.

During WWII, Bitterne Grove was used as a Home Guard station and luckily, although a lodge was destroyed by bombing, the house suffered very little damage.

Part of the grounds and newer buildings are currently used by Charlton House Independent School for children aged 4 to 11 years and Yarrow Heights School a mixed SEN day school. These are separate institutions. Bitterne Grove House, the White House as called by St Mary’s School, stands empty.

Bibliography:
THE LOST HOUSES OF SOUTHAMPTON by Jessica Vale. Available to browse at our Heritage Centre.
Research by Garth Groombridge (currently unpublished) Available to browse at our Heritage Centre.

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