Philip Rose was born into a leading Wycombe family in 1816. When only 25, as a junior partner in a firm of London solicitors, he was dismayed to discover that no hospital would treat one of his clerks for “consumption”. Undeterred, he used his formidable drive and energy to establish the now world-famous Brompton Hospital with Queen Victoria as patron and Prince Albert laying the foundation stone. Charles Dickens spoke in his support.
He earned his fortune as a solicitor during a time of rapid expansion of the railway system. Benjamin Disraeli was a close friend and he managed his legal and financial affairs, as well as acting as national agent for the Conservative Party. He and Disraeli bought their local estates at the same time, Disraeli at Hughenden and Philip Rose at Rayners. On becoming Prime Minister in 1874, Disraeli offered Philip Rose a baronetcy and he later became High Sheriff of the County.
Two farms, Rayners and Colehatch in Hammersley Lane, formed the basis of the Rayners estate. He took on the role of Squire of Tylers Green and Rayners became the focus of all village celebrations, employing two thirds of the adult population as estate workers or tenants. In 1854, largely using lhis own money, he built St Margaret’s Church and established a separate parish of Tylers Green. He also built St Margaret’s Institute to try to keep working men out of the pubs and was a benefactor of Tylers Green School.
In 1875, Sir Philip Rose laid the foundation stone of the school, which was completed 10 months later. The schoolchildren were moved from the cramped conditions of the former stable block of Tylers Green House, where they had been housed since 1874. The architect of the new school was Arthur Vernon who later built the Royal Grammar School. He was also five times Mayor of Wycombe and agent for Disraeli’s Hughenden Manor estate and the first man to own a car in Wycombe in 1896. The school was built for £1,870 by a Mr Woodbridge of Maidenhead.
Sir Philip died in 1883 and was buried in the family vault under St Margaret’s Church. His legacy was continued by his son, the second Sir Philip, who hosted a grand firework display in “Celebration of Victory and Peace” at Rayners in July 1919. He died soon afterwards and the title and estate were inherited by his young grandson, whose trustees decided to sell off the estate. In 1920, the house and grounds were bought by the London County Council for use as a school for deaf children, which is now known as Penn School.
Copyright: Miles Green