Bearwood College, a secondary co-educational independent school situated at Sindlesham, near Wokingham in the English county of Berkshire, was the Royal Merchant Navy School. It became co-educational in the 1990s.

John Walter III, who was an editor of The Times newspaper, bought the 5,000-acre (20 km 2) estate in which the school is now located. He built a mansion within it, which used bricks created from clay extracted from a site within the estate, and it served as his country seat. A dam was constructed around the site, which was then flooded to form a 47-acre (190,000 m 2) lake. The mansion was acquired by Sir Thomas Devitt and Sir Alfred Yarrow after the First World War, and the Royal Merchant Navy School moved there from Snaresbrook in March 1921. The Royal Merchant Navy School was originally a Merchant Seamen's Orphanage, founded in October 1827 in the City of London. The purpose of the orphanage was to care for the children of those who were lost at sea, whilst educating them. By 1862, the orphanage with the support of Albert, Prince Consort (the husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom),and John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), had raised enough money to construct new buildings at Snaresbrook. In 1902, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom approved the application of the title "Royal" to the establishment, and King George V of the United Kingdom changed the name of the orphanage to the Royal Merchant Navy School. The school moved from Snaresbrook because of circumstances relating to the First World War. By 1961, the number of orphans being cared for by the school had reduced compared to the number in the late 19th century, as a result of the smaller size of the British merchant fleet relative to the same period. The school then accepted fee-paying scholars, and changed its name to Bearwood College. From 1961 to 1996, the school allowed only boys to become students. The school does continue to accept some orphans. The college has a preparatory school, which was opened in September 2007.



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