Back in June I moved over to a wonderful bright room within Ketteringham Hall. I get asked almost everyday what the history of the hall is so I have done a little bit of research
Ketteringham Hall is surrounded by an estate of 40 acres of woodland and open grassland and is documented to have existed during the time of Edward the Confessor (1004-1066). The hall was built by Sir Henry Grey in the late 15th century and originally stood in 500 acres. After a fire in the early 1800s the hall was rebuilt to its present form and in 1836 it was acquired by Sir John Peter Boileau whose family lived here until 1948.
In 1874, Sir John Boileau erected a drinking fountain for horses at the junction of Newmarket and Ipswich Roads in Norwich in memory of his wife Lady Catherine, but the statue of a mother and child was moved to the grounds of the old Norfolk & Norwich Hospital when the traffic lights were erected, it now stands in the entrance hall at Ketteringham.
In 1960 Owen Chadwick – a history professor at Cambridge University – published Victorian Miniature - a remarkable book which combined the diaries of two Ketteringham characters: the squire (Sir John Boileau) and the vicar (the Revd. W.W. Andrew). In this quiet village in South Norfolk hatred and animosity flowed between the manor house and the church. Sir John and his family lived at Ketteringham Hall while Rev Andrew controlled the church of St Peter which stood next to the entrance to the hall.
During the Second World War in 1943, huts were erected for the servicemen of the United States 8th Army Air Force, as Ketteringham Hall was used as the headquarters of the American air bases in Norfolk. Hethel was the nearest aerodrome, where the flying Fortresses were based. There was no electricity until 1952 and water had to be drawn from wells and pumps. After the Americans left, the huts were used by squatters until the Council took them over for housing and then the whole village was connected to the private water supply. Now there is mains water!
Two years after being sold to the Duke of Westminster in 1948, the hall was used as a preparatory school and sold to Badingham College in 1965. More recently the hall was home to Group Lotus after their founder, Colin Chapman, bought the estate in 1970, and until 1994 the hall itself was used for the development of the Formula 1 cars. The Lotus factory is situated in nearby Hethel. The hall is still owned by the Chapman family but has been redeveloped into business units and is presently occupied by several companies including Pennycress Photography
Why not join me in the wonderful grounds for the Big Pennycress Picnic on 19th August 2012. Check out the Facebook page for details x