Object of the Month

Now that we’ve upgraded our website we’re going to introduce an object each month that we think will interest you. As you may have seen elsewhere, Little Hall’s Second World War history was to feature in an exhibition this month so our object for May relates to this era.

The Chest of Drawers with a Unique History

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When it was a dormitory

Visitors to Little Hall may wonder at the name “dormitory” given to the upper area above the dining room. During the 14th, 15th and until the mid-16th century this room didn’t exist but was an open space from the simple earth floor to the roof where swirls of smoke from the hearth below were deposited onto the heavy beams. Soot marks can be seen on the roof timbers and visitors remark on the smoky odour of the room which can still be detected to this day.

The Gayer-Andersons had many visitors to their beautifully restored home in Lavenham and were proud of their “best bedroom” inserting sinks with stunning 18thc Sevres plates as splash backs to give guests the equivalent of today’s ensuites. However it was in September 1939 when a plan to evacuate over 600,000 London school children to escape the bombing of the second world war, that Colonel Gayer Anderson changed its name from the “best bedroom” to “the dormitory” in order to accommodate five evacuees from Bethnal Green.

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The chest in the Colonel’s time
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The chest today

The Georgian oak chest of drawers in which the boys kept their few possessions still bears their names, Henry, Victor, Billy, Reggie and Terry, carefully painted on each drawer by the Colonel. You can see this just to the right on entering the room along with portraits of two of the boys above. The Colonel was an accomplished artist.  The two portraits show Henry and Tony. Tony Maunder gave his portrait (painted on his 9th birthday) to Little Hall and in a letter dated 1991 he spoke of his many happy memories of Lavenham.  He had been evacuated along with his brother Frank from London and although lodged at Cross Cottage, Market Place he and Frank were frequent visitors to Little Hall where they could play in the garden with the other boys. In his letter he writes: “The picture will remain a record of the time and also remind us of the Colonel’s kindness to an evacuee”. 

Before

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We know of the devastation 30 high explosive bombs and 3 parachute mines wrought on Bethnal Green between October 1940 and June 1941. 21,700 homes were hit killing 555 and seriously injuring a further 400.

and After

The boy’s life in Lavenham couldn’t have been more different to the one they left behind. Attending the small primary school, being offered apprenticeships, enjoying the garden and surrounding fields and even having a cook to spoil them with cake and biscuits.  Even so it must have been a tremendously difficult time for them and their families having to deal with separation, loneliness and the uncertainties of a country at war. However, it may be that the experience changed the direction of their lives. Four of the boys returned to visit the Colonel and the house and it cannot be a coincidence that three of them spent many years living abroad. Could it be that the tales of foreign adventures shared by the Gayer Andersons ignited a passion for travel?

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You can find out more about each evacuee in the brochure “Sheltering the London Boys”, sold in our shop.

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Welcome to our Privacy Policy
— Your privacy is critically important to us.
Little Hall Lavenham is located at:

Little Hall Lavenham
Little Hall Market Place
Suffolk, Lavenham
01787247019
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This Privacy Policy, together with the Terms and conditions posted on our Website, set forth the general rules and policies governing your use of our Website. Depending on your activities when visiting our Website, you may be required to agree to additional terms and conditions.

– Website Visitors
Like most website operators, Little Hall Lavenham collects non-personally-identifying information of the sort that web browsers and servers typically make available, such as the browser type, language preference, referring site, and the date and time of each visitor request. Little Hall Lavenham’s purpose in collecting non-personally identifying information is to better understand how Little Hall Lavenham’s visitors use its website. From time to time, Little Hall Lavenham may release non-personally-identifying information in the aggregate, e.g., by publishing a report on trends in the usage of its website.
Little Hall Lavenham also collects potentially personally-identifying information like Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for logged in users and for users leaving comments on http://littlehall.org.uk blog posts. Little Hall Lavenham only discloses logged in user and commenter IP addresses under the same circumstances that it uses and discloses personally-identifying information as described below.

– Gathering of Personally-Identifying Information
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Our Service may contain links to external sites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third party link, you will be directed to that third party’s site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy and terms and conditions of every site you visit.
We have no control over, and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites, products or services.


– Protection of Certain Personally-Identifying Information
Little Hall Lavenham discloses potentially personally-identifying and personally-identifying information only to those of its employees, contractors and affiliated organizations that (i) need to know that information in order to process it on Little Hall Lavenham’s behalf or to provide services available at Little Hall Lavenham’s website, and (ii) that have agreed not to disclose it to others. Some of those employees, contractors and affiliated organizations may be located outside of your home country; by using Little Hall Lavenham’s website, you consent to the transfer of such information to them. Little Hall Lavenham will not rent or sell potentially personally-identifying and personally-identifying information to anyone. Other than to its employees, contractors and affiliated organizations, as described above, Little Hall Lavenham discloses potentially personally-identifying and personally-identifying information only in response to a subpoena, court order or other governmental request, or when Little Hall Lavenham believes in good faith that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of Little Hall Lavenham, third parties or the public at large.
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Privacy Policy Changes
Although most changes are likely to be minor, Little Hall Lavenham may change its Privacy Policy from time to time, and in Little Hall Lavenham’s sole discretion. Little Hall Lavenham encourages visitors to frequently check this page for any changes to its Privacy Policy. Your continued use of this site after any change in this Privacy Policy will constitute your acceptance of such change.



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