Knellwood – The Early Years
Knellwood House was built in the mid 19th century by a local entrepreneur, William Knell, and for most of the century was home to a number of high ranking military personnel and their families. During World War I it was a hospital for war wounded soldiers and in 1921 it became a country house hotel and remained so until the end of the second world war. Following a public meeting and referendum, it was agreed that a memorial to the Farnborough service people who gave their lives for their country during the Second World War should be an old people’s home. In 1947 the Knellwood Hotel came up for sale and was purchased for £11,500. A small band of enthusiastic workers found themselves with a country hotel on their hands, a large overdraft at the bank and very limited assets. The Farnborough War Memorial Housing Society Limited was formed in 1947 and shares of £1 were sold in the Housing Society raising £1,700 which together with monies raised from garden fetes enabled the society to purchase furniture and fittings. Decoration was carried out by volunteers. To reduce the loan the Committee decided to sell the lodge at the entrance to Knellwood House and a number of building plots to the north.
Knellwood today bears no resemblance to those early days of 1947. In the 1980s two modern wings were added, but the home still looks and feels like a spacious comfortable country house; residents are at home there and the constant stream of visitors in no way disturbs the steady pulse of comfortable living which beats throughout.