Antrobus House was opened in 1925. It is a beautiful memorial to Lieutenant Edmund Antrobus, the only son of Lady Florence Antrobus, who was killed in battle at Ypres, during WWI, aged 27.
Lady Florence Antrobus (pictured below), was the wife of Colonel Sir Edmund Antrobus, a wealthy Lancashire textile merchant, who moved to Wiltshire for its sheep farming and bought Amesbury Abbey (which has since been converted into a Nursing Home). They had one son, also named Edmund (pictured below), who was educated at Eton, then like his father, became an officer in the Grenadier Guards.
Sadly he was killed in action in Belgium on 24th October 1914 at the Battle of Ypres, and is commemorated on the Menin Gate. HIs father died a few months later, allegedly of a broken heart.
Lady Florence died in 1923. In her will, she determined that some personal belongings of the family should be collected together in a suitable building as a memorial to her son, and she appointed Lieutenant Colonel Henry Verey as Trustee, to carry out her wishes and oversee the construction of Antrobus House.
He chose Geoffrey Fildes as architect. Like Edmund, he was an old Etonian and an officer in the Guards during the war. He was commissioned to design a building in the Queen Anne style as best suited the purposes outlined in the will. The contractor was Harry James of Amesbury, and the house opened in 1925 and became a place for learning and socialising.
Lieutenant Colonel H E Verey's opening address stated :
"It can be a place where you can find rest and amusement after hard work, a place for lectures, festive gatherings and dances. Those who visit can widen their views and broaden their education. So when you are happy sitting in the house or playing games in the garden, think gratefully sometimes of Edmund Antrobus, whose memorial it is and of his father and mother, its founder and benefactress".
Lieutenant Colonel Verey died in 1968, and his two sons became Trustees, but in 1974 they relinquished the Trust in favour of local residents, seven of whom now act as Trustees for The Lady Antrobus Trust, responsible for administering the business of Antrobus House and overseeing the day-to-day running of the House.
It is a true testament to Lady Florence Antrobus to have had the foresight to provide Amesbury with an outstanding building, which is still used as it was originally intended, 95 years later!