Search

Local History Month: Striking Rainham Hall’s role in ‘heart of historic village’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 May 2017

Rainham Hall'’s fine wrought-iron railings. Picture: National Trust/Dennis Gilbert

Rainham Hall'’s fine wrought-iron railings. Picture: National Trust/Dennis Gilbert

Archant

Georgian manor Rainham Hall is one of Havering’s most delightful gems, with its beautiful features and stunning gardens. Creative programme manager Sally James tells us about the attraction’s past and present.

Rainham Hall's creative programme manager Sally James has worked for the National Trust since 2014. Picture: National Trust/Sophia Schorr-Kon Rainham Hall's creative programme manager Sally James has worked for the National Trust since 2014. Picture: National Trust/Sophia Schorr-Kon

Rainham Hall is full of character and relevant stories from the past.

Built in 1729, for a sea merchant, the hall has since been home to nearly 50 different families and inhabitants.

The striking house, with its outbuildings and nearly three acre garden is situated in the heart of historic Rainham village.

Surrounded by housing, industry, and busy transport links, the hall is a remarkably fine example of Georgian architecture and its façade has changed little over the last 288 years.

A quirky exhibit on display at Rainham Hall. Picture: National Trust/Sophia Schorr-Kon A quirky exhibit on display at Rainham Hall. Picture: National Trust/Sophia Schorr-Kon

Robust and dignified, Rainham Hall was built to last. However, while it looks grand on the outside, our visitors are always charmed by the domestic scale of the interiors and almost every day someone tells us that they’d like to move in!

I started working for the National Trust in 2014 and joined the project team at the hall as the creative programme manager.

At that time we were in the midst of our major £2.5 million capital works and interpretation programme, with builders on-site, and an ambitious schedule of renovation work ahead of us.

As a lifelong resident of Havering, I’d visited the hall previously in 2008 and again in 2009, when it was leased by the trust to a private tenant.

Staircase inside Rainham Hall Staircase inside Rainham Hall

With my Masters degree in history, experience of managing Georgian houses in London, and my passion for local heritage, it was the perfect role for me and a great opportunity to be involved in fully opening the hall to the public for the first time.

I manage our changing exhibition programme at the hall, including overseeing historical research, content development, design, and loaning or lending items for display.

The hall has been home to a diverse cast of characters, from a local vicar, to coal traders, a Vogue photographer, and more.

It’s a joy to delve into the past; to see how different people have made the hall their own and the impact that they had in the history of Havering.

Views of Rainham. Rainham Hall Views of Rainham. Rainham Hall

Creating our exhibitions is a team effort; I manage a very dedicated staff team, and we have over 100 volunteers signed up to support us with a variety of activities.

We couldn’t do it without volunteers, who share their time and skills so generously with us.

Over 60pc of our exhibits have been co-created or co-curated by members of the local community, and it’s really important to us that the people of Havering get to shape the visitor experience at the hall.

We’ve worked with some great organisations such as Romford Model Engineering Club, the Havering Numismatic Society, and the Upminster Tithe Barn Museum of Nostalgia, as well as local artists such as The Material Girls.

Volunteer Lucy Weller and visitor experience officer Ella Hewitt enjoying an egg hunt event Volunteer Lucy Weller and visitor experience officer Ella Hewitt enjoying an egg hunt event

It’s our mission to enrich the understanding of the history of the hall and surrounding area, for both local people and our visitors from farther afield. Our current exhibition, Remembering the Day Nursery, is open for visitors to enjoy and is based on the memories of local people who attended the day nursery, which operated from the hall between 1943 and 1954.

Rainham Hall is open Wednesdays to Sundays. For more information please visit nationaltrust.org.uk/rainham-hall.

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

The London Borough of Havering have for decades paid more for our services than inner London areas who have received much larger grants from central government, compared to outer London areas.

Yesterday, 15:00

The creation of the National Health Service in 1948 was not universally welcomed, as Prof Ged Martin discovered

Yesterday, 10:00

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.

Fri, 17:30

A musical variety group that spent more than 50 years performing in hospitals and care homes, still meets up to reminisce about the days of musical festivities and fundraising.

Fri, 17:28

Police in Hertfordshire are appealing to members of the public in Havering for help in tracking down a wanted man they believe is in the Romford area.

Fri, 16:40

These are the Havering roads to miss next week if you don’t want to risk delays.

Fri, 16:09

Rats swarming in and out of bin bags, roaming confidently across front gardens and gnawing their way through fences.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Window and conservatory specialist Ken Rhodes talks about the possibilities for brightening up your home for the new year, and with their home improvement finance deals it’s possible for everyone to make some changes

Lisa and Jennie are cousins who grew up in the borough. Their grandmother, ‘Nanny Fish’ was a huge part of their lives, and while she had dementia and increasing needs, she really benefited from having care in her nephew’s loving home. This experience was the inspiration for Lisa and Jennie to set-up their own home care service.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now