The history behind Audley Cooper’s Hill

Audley Cooper's Hill site 1950s

Audley Cooper's Hill

The site of the former Brunel University Runnymede campus has a long and colourful history, with links to Henry VIII and the Statue of Eros now at the centre of London’s Piccadilly Circus. Today, the Victorian Gothic building has been transformed from student accommodation into a luxury retirement village.

Audley Cooper’s Hill comprises 128 retirement properties for the over 55s and is located within the 66 acres of the Magna Carta Park. The luxury retirement village development enables property owners to socialise, relax and keep fit in the beautifully restored buildings whilst enjoying the support and reassurance of retirement living.

Over the years the site has been passed through the hands of many notable owners.

It was once owned by Andrew, Lord Windsor in 1539, having been granted it by King Henry VIII

The site was then passed on to the Harcourt family in the 18th Century. They remained in the old manor house until the start of the 19th Century when they built a new house on the current site, and the property became known as ‘Coopershill’.

Sold off and passed through the hands of two other families, its student history began when

it was purchased in 1870 by Indian Engineering College

which trained engineers for the Engineering Service of the Government of India. After 35 years at the site, when the college moved to Oxford University in 1905, the grand estate was purchased by Baron Cheylesmore, a British Army Officer in the First World War, and his wife, for use as a family home until Baron Cheylesmore was killed in a motor accident in 1914.

In 1914 the estate was then used as a refuge for Belgian refugees, nuns and children and as a convalescence home for wounded soldiers.

In 1934, the site was bought by the London County Council.

During the war, administrative staff were transferred over and the Statue of Eros was removed from Piccadilly Circus to spend the period protected at the site.

After the war, the Cooper’s Hill Emergency Training College was founded to address an urgent need for teachers, and operated at Cooper’s Hill until 1951.

The site of Cooper’s Hill was then acquired in 1951, by Shoreditch Training College.

The expanding Shoreditch Training College had outgrown their accommodation in Pitfield Street, Hoxton, London. The College was a teacher training institution for teachers of handicrafts with it’s origins dating back to the 1900’s, when the London County Council set up a scholarship scheme for pupil teachers in handicrafts.

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A surprise guest

The Shoreditch Training College students were in for a very welcome surprise during their Valedictory event in May 1978. The band who were scheduled to perform at the event in the College Chapel, had to cancel at the last minute and the now Sir Elton John performed at The Shoreditch Training College event in 1978.

The college later merged with Brunel University in 1980, to later specialise in design and technology courses.

In 2004, the Department of Design was moved to the main Brunel University Campus at Uxbridge and the Runnymede Campus became purely residential, providing accommodation for students from Royal Holloway College.

Audley Cooper's Hill

The site has since evolved into the beautiful retirement village you see today, with striking grand buildings worth of a fairytale.

During the design and build of Audley Cooper's Hill efforts were made to preserve and celebrate the history of the Englefield Green and the surrounding area, and many owners have now been living in their exquisite properties since the village opening in 2019.

To book a tour of the village and speak to the sales team to find out more about owning your own home there, arrange a visit online or call us.