Former Vogue and GQ model buys historic landmark in Cambridgeshire

Former male model Jesse Burgess has bought the Old Grammar School site in St Ives. 

Former male model Jesse Burgess has bought the Old Grammar School site in St Ives. - Credit: Archant / Jesse Burgess

A former top male model from Cambridgeshire is aiming to ‘bring Henley-on-Thames to St Ives’ after purchasing the Old Grammar School site.

Jesse Burgess, whose parents worked in St Ives and still live nearby, has bought the Old Grammar School site.

Mr Burgess, 30, left home at age 18, and moved to London and was 'scouted' on the King’s Road and became a top model.

Former male model Jesse Burgess has bought the Old Grammar School site in St Ives.

Former male model Jesse Burgess has bought the Old Grammar School site in St Ives. - Credit: JESSE BURGESS

While dabbling in property by buying flats in London, doing them up, and selling them, he was modelling for brands and magazines including Italian Vogue, Lacoste, GQ and French Connection, as well as doing catwalk shows for Moschino, E Tautz and Diesel in Milan.

He is also the presenter half of the film-maker duo TOPJAW specialising in creating travel and food related content - which has more than 230,000 subscribers on YouTube.

However, Mr Burgess says he set his heart on "bringing Henley--on-Thames to St Ives" with big plans to transform the Old Grammar School site, in Ramsey Road which he purchased through Brown & Co, into a boutique-style, high-spec development of just seven homes.

Jesse Burgess was a former top model who is formerly from St Ives.

Jesse Burgess was a former top model who is formerly from St Ives. - Credit: JESSE BURGESS

In fact, it was due to Mr Burgess’ parents – his father was an accountant in St Ives – that he bought the site. They saw Brown & Co was selling the historic riverside buildings and sent him the property details.

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“My mum sent me the details and I came to have a look and thought, it could be a goer.

"I knew the Old Grammar School site, which is unique, its relationship with the river is very special.

"It had been used as offices for a pharmaceutical company and the majority of its period features inside have unfortunately been stripped out.

“But I just love it and plan to create one four-bedroom property from the Angler’s Rest, two, two-bedroom and four-three bedroom homes.

"There will be a focus on interior design and lighting - these houses will be of superior quality, all with their own individual names, but will not be for sale for ridiculous prices.”

The Old Grammar School site in St Ives.

The Old Grammar School site in St Ives. - Credit: Brown & Co

Simon Harvey, divisional partner, Brown & Co, St Neots, who sold the Old Grammar School to Mr Burgess, said: “I am delighted that this heritage building, that means so much to so many people locally, has been purchased with a vision to create something beautiful for the town.

“It’s going to be very exciting for St Ives to see the site, subject to planning permission, transformed into homes for local people which not only enhances the environment but drives investment into the local economy - all while retaining for the future one of the town’s most important landmark buildings.”

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