Recently, Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham sent his Havering Coordinator Fay Hough to visit Rainham Hall to explore the grounds following their major conservation and interpretation project from October 2015. This charming early eighteenth century house is nestled in the heart of Rainham village on the far eastern fringes of London. With engaging installations and changing exhibitions, there is something for all ages. Rainham Hall has been home to a richly diverse cast of characters. Rainham Hall have drawn inspiration from research about their lives to tell some great stories, starting with Captain John Harle, who built the Hall in 1729.
Jon Cruddas MP commented: “The hall has a rich history, and the work undertaken by charities and volunteers has highlighted this. I strongly encourage residents of the local area to pop by and find out more about Rainham’s history. There are some great exhibitions and a café which overlooks the beautiful gardens.”
The house and stables have undergone a two-year programme of conservation and development thanks to grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Veolia North Thames Trust, Biffa Award, Constance Travis Charitable Trust, National Trust London Centre Association, and with support from London Borough of Havering and the involvement of over 100 volunteers.
Everything Harle Left Behind is the first exhibition at the Hall and tells the story of Captain John Harle, the enterprising merchant and ship’s captain who built the Queen Anne-style house.
An atmospheric narrative unfolds over three floors of the building, including a film installation exploring the perils of life at sea. Visitors hear sea shanties and the sounds of far-away coastlines, and can play a game with real 18th-century coins.
Havering Coordinator Fay Hough surmised her visit: “From the moment I entered Rainham hall, I felt a rich sense of local history. One of the first things I was shown by Sally James (Creative Programme Manager) was a secret door with pencil markings of all the children that have lived at Rainham Hall from the early 1900’s until recent years. This gave a personal feel to the Hall I was about to explore. Each room gave a history lesson of Rainham in the 1800’s-1900’s. A personal favourite of mine was one of the last rooms on the top floor which exhibited objects found underneath the floorboards of each room.
“Everything about Rainham Hall from the exhibitions, to the café (a small building that use to be the stables back in the 1800’s), and to the Gardens was magical. I felt proud being a Rainham resident to have such a beautiful building in the middle of our town centre that allows us to connect with its 18th century history.
“Speaking to Sally James gave me an insight into the amazing work they are continuing to do at the Hall and I was excited to hear about their future plans, some of which, will be revealed in the New Year. A fantastic regeneration of a local historic building with friendly staff ready to welcome you.”
If you would like to visit Rainham Hall you can find out more by visiting their website or contacting them direct: