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Alfred Palmer

East Thorpe and
Alfred Waterhouse

The origins of
St. Andrew's

Minute Books
and Reports

Rules for Women's
Halls of Residence

Closure of
St. Andrew's Hall

The Museum of
English Rural Life

East Thorpe and Alfred Waterhouse

After his marriage, Alfred Palmer commissioned the fashionable Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse to design and build an 'up-market' house.


The new house, known as East Thorpe, was designed and built between 1880 - 1882 and consisted of a house and stable block on Redlands Road, just off London Road.

Overlooking the tennis courts towards St. Andrew's Hall. MERL ref: P DX322 PH1/DL/761.

Image: Overlooking the garden tennis courts towards St. Andrew's Hall, c. 1920s. MERL ref: P DX322 PH1/DL/761.

In addition to East Thorpe, Alfred Palmer was also the owner of Wokefield Park - a country estate in Mortimer, approximately 5 miles south-west from here, that employed seventeen staff. The Wokefield Park mansion house is now part of a hotel and conference centre.

Waterhouse was responsible for the design of a number of grand buildings around the country, including the Natural History Museum, London, Manchester Town Hall, the Liverpool Infirmary and Liverpool University College.

Foxhill House

Image: Foxhill House, Whiteknights Road, Reading - now home to the University's School of Law.

Just after Waterhouse moved to London in 1865 he bought a plot of land in Whiteknights Park, Reading where he built his out-of-town family home, Foxhill.

Waterhouse's parents already lived in Reading in Whiteknights House on the Whiteknights Park estate; this move was a chance to bring the family back together. The Whiteknights Park estate was acquired by the University in 1947 and is now the University's main Whiteknights campus.

There are no less than 20 buildings in the Reading area with Waterhouse influence, including the Municipal Buildings, Reading School plus his own Foxhill home.