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The Krishnamurti Centre

Krisnamurti Centre

"perhaps you may come upon that mystery which nobody can reveal to you and nothing can destroy."

J. Krishnamurti

The Grounds of the Krishnamurti Centre

Brockwood Park has an interesting history. Originally called Lys Farm, it was owned by Richard Smith, a West Indian merchant and director of the East India Company. This was in 1769. A long line of residents followed the Smiths. Over the next 200 years, the farm gradually turned into a gentleman's parkland. T. Shakespeare (1784-1789), who made many plantations, was followed by the Earl of Malmesbury (1791-1807), who planted the great Cedars of Lebanon around 1800, many of which are still standing today. After him came the Greenwood family who lived at Brockwood for nearly 80 years. One of them, Col. George Greenwood involved himself in the unearthing of archaeological sites in the neighbourhood. The trees that he planted with tremendous zeal include the visually pleasing avenues of copper beeches in the undulating terrain, the Wellingtonias in the grove, and the conifers in the Pinetum.

The Krishnamurti Foundation bought the house with 40 acres of land from Mr. Morton in 1969. Set amidst the gently rolling hills of Hampshire, Brockwood Park School commands a magnificent view of the surrounding country from its hilltop position. The succession of residents since 1769 have each contributed to the house and the estate creating a striking though somewhat dispersed effect. A view from the belvedere atop the water tower reveals spacious parkland areas, Cedars of Lebanon, ha-ha's (sunk fence bounding park or garden), a traditional walled kitchen garden, rose and sunken gardens, a magnolia grove, orchards and an arboretum. Some of these are described in detail.

The Grove

This is the highlight of the entire estate. Very beautiful and situated to the west of the house, the grove was a creation of Lady Royden's. Apart from the Wellingtonias (Sequoias) which were planted more than 50 years before her time, she planted many of the existing trees and shrubs. The variety is numerous, prominent among them being the Wellingtonias, six kinds of oak, chestnuts, conifers, the rare handkerchief tree, and the rhododendrons and azaleas. It is a delight to visit in spring and early summer when the ground is carpeted with daffodils, snowdrops and bluebells, and the flowering shrubs are in bloom. It is indeed a special place.

The Water Tower

At the south-eastern end of the house is the water tower, built in 1912 by Mr. Coates in order to supply water both to the house and the neighbouring cottages he built around the same time. The tower, apart from the water tank at the very top, now houses the biology, physics and chemistry laboratories.

The Magnolia Grove

Planted with varieties of magnolias and flowering cherries, this was intended largely as a spring garden. It also has a gingko (maiden hair tree), a species that, curiously, has not evolved over millennia and is fairly rare. Here you will also see a hut constructed by students using earth and straw.

The Pond

This was created in 1987 by the students and staff of the school, with the intention of introducing an aquatic habitat to the estate in order to attract new fauna.

The Rose Garden

Originally very intricate and formal, in the Edwardian style, with geometrically aligned flower beds, the rose garden has a more informal look now. It is bordered by newly planted yew shrubs, and the old garden wall. Along its northern side is a pergola.

The Sunken Garden

Adjacent to the magnolia grove was originally a circular, formal rose garden, but it is now maintained more informally with a bank of maples.

The Kitchen Garden

Run on organic principles, the kitchen garden covers roughly 1.5 acres of land on the eastern side of the house. A variety of vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers are grown here, the intention being to retain the character of the traditional walled kitchen garden. It supplies a third of the school's fresh vegetable requirements.

The New Barn

The New Barn was built in the historical barn complex at Brockwood and was designed to blend into and enhance the environment. In the traditional manner of old barns, it was constructed out of massive oak beams that are held together, not by metal pieces, but by joints and dowels. The aesthetic quality and spacious proportions of the building complement the activities that take place in it: an activity centre for art, and as a convening place for the international meetings that are held every year at Brockwood Park.

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