Named originally ‘Silvermead’, this pair of houses on the corner plot was built in 1867, at the same time as the original school. William Tuckwell had purchased just 15 acres for his school (barely a third of the current site) and the corner plot was owned by Mr Rossiter, a local solicitor.
The building and surrounding garden were purchased by the school in 1918 and for most of the 20th century this was the school sanatorium. The doctor’s treatment room was in the basement, sick wards on the ground floor and staff accommodation higher up.
From the 1970s when pupil numbers at the school grew, Briar Lea was used for a number of boarding purposes - accommodation for girls, study spaces and common rooms. It was for a time the home of Perratt’s House.
Since 1990 Briar Lea has housed the school’s Art Department. The site was chosen for the building’s large, bright rooms which originally made it an ideal location for the sanatorium. In September 2016 King’s opened its new Art Department extension – the Silvermead Studio.