American Museum in Britain

The commanding Claverton Manor was probably the third building to have the title. The first two were located in Claverton village, next to the St. Mary's Church. Claverton Manor was bought by John Vivian in 1816, he demolished the original manor and built new further up the hill. Claverton Manor was designed by Jeffry Wyatt (1766-1840) (later Sir Jeffry Wyatville). The exterior comprises a number of neo-classical elements, but was rather conventional for the time.

Vivian's son, George, inherited the property in 1828. He added the curatin wall, the top-lit picture gallery and probably designed the gardens incorporating a grotto, Italian-style sunken garden, rose arcade, spring-fed ponds and balustrade walling.

The Vivian family owned the property until 1869 when Isaac Carr bought it. After the Carrs it was sold to Henry Duncan Skrine (John Vivian's great-grandson) in 1874. Whilst Skrine lived at the manor he invited the young Winston Churchill to give his first political speech in the grounds on 26th July 1897.

The property was let to a number of different people, including James Wilson the founder of The Economist. During WWII it ws the headquarters for the RAF No.32 (Balloon Barrage) Group. Stationed here was Squadron Leader Kenneth Horne. In 1958 American psychiatrist, Dr Dallas Pratt and British antiques dealer, John Judkyn, bought Claverton Manor and created the American Museum in Britain.

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