THE TRULY MAGICAL SETTING OF BIRCHFIELD, A HIDDEN GEM OF SHROPSHIRE
The site for Birchfield School, formerly Beamish House, was acquired by Major Walter Garnett-Botfield in 1908. There was no house, no garden, in fact no vegetation, save the wild plants in the field. The Major immediately commissioned a stunning house design from M.H. Baillie Scott, a renowned architect, who was considered to be at the forefront of the Arts & Crafts movement at the turn of the twentieth century.
Baillie Scott described his preferred clients as “people with artistic aspirations but modest incomes”. He imagined and introduced a new style of smaller house by creating a plan based around a spacious living area and extending the interior into the garden to make the most of beautiful views and vistas. Beamish House typified his style and was a showpiece building in Shropshire, the largest of three houses he built in the county.
Major Garnett-Botfield’s wife, Daisy, was an ardent gardener and over a number of years transformed a large grass field into a beautiful garden for Beamish House. She was the driving force behind the garden and in the 1920s and 1930s Beamish was a regular entry in the Small Gardens of England guidebook. She also submitted numerous articles to the Royal Horticultural Society informing of its splendours and delights. The family lived at Beamish House until 1953 when it was sold by Private Treaty and it briefly became the Beamish Country Club. Shortly afterwards Birchfield School, requiring larger premises to house and educate their boys, moved from Nethy Drive in Tettenhall and took up residence in Beamish House.
Birchfield School is today a thriving community of girls and boys aged 4 to 13, with an extended senior school provision to age 16 announced in 2021 and the delights of the Baillie Scott’s building and Daisy’s gardens are enjoyed by staff, parents, pupils and visitors alike.