pAst, prEsent & future
Gregory Gregory (1786-1854) was a respected Englishman who was active in his community and had a passion for travel. He inherited Harlaxton Manor and other properties in 1822 after the passing of his uncle George de Ligne Gregory (1740–1822). It wasn’t until 1831 that Gregory began construction on the project that we now know as Harlaxton Manor. Gregory’s vision for the manor was influenced by his own travels around England and Europe and his desire to merge multiple architectural styles into one. He had a passion for collecting art from around the world and over time amassed a large collection of furniture, tapestries, books, and other pieces. Gregory was heavily involved in the design and building of the manor until it was completed in 1851.
Violet Van der Elst (1882-1966) was an entrepreneur and social campaigner who made her fortune investing in beauty preparations like Shavex, the first brushless shave cream. Violet purchased Harlaxton Manor in 1937 after it had been passed down to a relative uninterested in the estate. While much of Violet’s fortune was spent on campaigning against capital punishment, she certainly invested in the manor as well. It was during this time that the manor acquired distinct features, such as the massive chandelier in the Great Hall, the lion statues in the front circle, and electricity!
The University of Evansville is a private University located in Evansville, IN. After Violet, the manor was passed on to the Society of Jesus, who eventually leased the property to Stanford University. In 1970, Dr. Wallace Graves sub-leased the manor for the University of Evansville and it was then purchased in 1978 by Dr. William Ridgway. Dr. Ridgway officially transferred ownership of the manor to the University of Evansville in 1978 to use as a study abroad campus. While the state rooms in the manor have been well maintained, the lower levels and servants’ quarters have been transformed to accommodate student needs. This includes the creation of classrooms and dorm room spaces. For many years the manor has been the beginning of many students’ journeys and has served as the start of their discovery of the United Kingdom, and then the rest of the world!
Whether studying abroad, celebrating a union or connecting through nature and culture, Harlaxton provides the setting, skills and experiences for people to become their own extraordinary. With over thirty partner institutions and dozens of custom programs each year, Harlaxton Manor opens its doors to students from all over the United States. Students are drawn to Harlaxton because it is the perfect place to dive into the culture, creativity, and communities of Britain with real life learning beyond the walls of a classroom.
Our intrinsic desire to go beyond the status quo provides grounds for people to be who they want to be. Whether studying abroad, celebrating a union or connecting through nature and culture, Harlaxton provides the setting, skills and experiences for people to become their own extraordinary.
Home to all those who want to pursue a life more extraordinary. Harlaxton welcomes its inhabitants and guests to embrace their potential; becoming anew through immersing themselves in a world full of distinct perspectives, unbridled curiosity and unexpected innovations.
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