Friday, 9 October 2015

One hundred years of that barn in Well Hall.

The Barn in 1909
Well Hall is where I grew up and whenever I go home to Eltham I am drawn back to the place and in particular to the Pleasaunce and the Tudor Barn.

I have tried sharing my love of the place with my three sons and while to them it is a pleasant enough spot I know it doesn’t hold the same magic, but then they were born in Chorlton.

For them it will be the meadows hard by the river and perhaps the old parish graveyard which all three tramped past every day on their way to school.

The Barn today
For me the Pleasaunce holds vivid memories of exploring the gardens and the moat when I was younger and then later attending concerts in the open air theatre.

But above all it is the Tudor Barn.

Even now it has the power to set my imagination rolling down old paths into its past.

Now I know at best it was home to the servants who worked in the old manor house and later in Well Hall House and parts of it will have been used for storing the most mundane of things.  But when you are 16 and discovering Shakespeare, the poems of John Donne and Andrew Marvel as well as the dark arts of Machiavelli the Barn just fills your boots.

All of which I now tell myself is so much romantic tosh but old buildings do have a power to work on you and so here are two pictures of the barn separated by just over a century.

The first comes from R.R.C.Gregory’s book on the history of Eltham which was published in 1909, and the second is from my friend Jean who like me shares a fascination for the place.*

Pictures; the Tudor Barn 1909,  from The story of Royal Eltham, R.R.C. Gregory, 1909 and published on The story of Royal Eltham, by Roy Ayers, and the same scene from the collection of Jean Gammons, September 2013

*The Story of Royal Eltham, R.R.C. Gregory, 1909

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