Completed in 1907, Sennowe was built by Thomas Albert Cook, the grandson of Thomas Cook who founded the famous travel firm in the mid 19th century. The travel firm had grown rapidly in the late Victorian era, capitalising on the growing affordability and interest in travel, and the development of the all-inclusive “Cook’s Tour”. “Bert” Cook left his two brothers running the family business and came to Norfolk to indulge his tastes for shooting, in the manner being cultivated at Sandringham, as well as carriage driving and sailing. He commissioned George Skipper to make a radical transformation of an existing late 18th century house on the site.
Skipper had become Norfolk’s leading architect of the day, and at Sennowe drew upon his classical inclinations in an imaginative and rich articulation of Edwardian design. The effect, described as ‘hectic’ by one breathless admirer, and by another as ‘ebullient’, is decorated, but warm and approachable. Although noted amongst other things for his grand Norwich Union building, and the richly tiled art deco Royal Arcade in Norwich, Sennowe was Skipper’s finest achievement in family houses. Indeed, it is one of Norfolk’s most romantic and impressive Edwardian country houses.
Today the house is very much lived in, and the family home of the descendants of Thomas Cook.