By David Borrett

THIS building, long known as Elvin House, still stands today near the entrance to the Chantry Centre.

Today, the ground floor windows have been replaced by much larger casements of ‘old world’ latticed glazing but the appearance of a Victorian town house still remains as it must have looked 150 years ago.

It was designated Grade II listed building status in 1983.

Andover Advertiser: Elvin House during renovations c1971Elvin House during renovations c1971 (Image: Charles Wardell)

The photograph shows the house in dilapidated and abandoned state, about to undergo the renovation, that included the fitting of the latticed windows.

Afterwards, the left side of the ground floor became the premises of R E Bath, the travel agent, while the right side became the Newbury Building Society, both accessed through the central doorway.

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Later, the travel agent moved out and the building society took over the whole of the premises.

However, the house had for many years been a doctors’ practice — and indeed continued to be so, long after 1971.

At the time of the photograph the building housed the surgeries of Drs Pack, Lloyd Davies and Marval.

The surgery entrance was down the side of the house, where here the building is of red brick, in contrast to the sand-coloured brick of the front.

Viewed from the rear, the patchwork of alterations and changes made over the years suggests an older structure than that of the mid-Victorian frontage.

The Salisbury and Winchester Journal for July 21, 1834, carries an advertisement for Elvin House School which had just been opened by Edgar Loxton.

In the flowery language of the time he ‘begs respectfully to inform his friends and the public that he has opened [a] school for the tuition of young gentlemen in the Classics, Mathematics and every branch of an English and Commercial Education; and assures them that unremitting attention will be paid to the morals and domestic comfort as well as to the general studies of his pupils.’

Evidently, it was a private boarding school for a select number of ‘young gentlemen’.

The school continued for many years under its first principal, Edgar Loxton, who was not a native of Andover.

He was born in Somerset and married Eliza Blake in Portsea, just three months before opening.

Her father was a builder, so there may have been some assistance from him in converting Elvin House into a suitable school.

Possibly, the name dates from this time. Censuses of 1841, 1851 and 1861 show the school remaining under Mr Loxton and that pupil numbers ranged from 10-15.

A man called Stenson then ran the school for a very short time, before selling it to Charles Maynard.

However, Maynard took Stenson to court because some of the school furniture and apparently even some of the pupils were removed from Elvin House to Stenson’s school in Melksham.

Maynard won the action as far as the school property was concerned but not the pupils.

He sold out to Theophilus Brackstone Millard in December 1864 who ran it for a short time before it appears to have closed.

The next occupants were Thomas and Sarah Compton, when it became a private house.

Compton was a corn and seed merchant who had premises next to the Globe hotel and a yard in Bridge Street, as well as wholesale stores in the Town Station Yard.

He was also a councillor and magistrate, though never became mayor.

Possibly he was responsible for the yellow brick front to Elvin House, which would have been a rather costly procedure for the earlier schoolmasters but something that may well have been undertaken by the upwardly-mobile Compton.

In 1889, he relinquished his High Street and Bridge Street business in favour of his nephew, James Compton Reeks, but retained his town station stores.

Sarah Compton died in 1895 and about the same time Thomas was declared bankrupt, moving then to Junction Road.

This would be when Elvin House first became a doctor’s surgery, part of it remaining as a private house for the doctor and his family.

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The first to practise there was Jermyn Gillett who had been at Woking and Eastleigh.

One of his sons, Edward, was killed in World War I and his name is on the Cenotaph.

The story of the doctors who practised at Elvin House will be the subject of a forthcoming book by Dr Malcolm Stone, entitled A Surgery Through Time, due out next year.

If you are interested in local history, why not join Andover History and Archaeology Society? Details can be found at