Saturday, 23 July 2016

Mrs Lomax's box mangle at Hough End Hall sometime in 1940

I can remember confiding in someone recently that I knew more about Hough End Hall in the 19th century than I did about the place in the last sixty years.

A box mangle
All of which is now being turned around as people come forward with their memories along with some photographs and a suggestion of where to go looking for the documents.

Chief amongst those with memories is my friend Oliver Bailey whose family rented the hall and the surrounding land from 1940 before buying it from the Egerton estate in the early 1960s and selling it on to a developer later in that decade.

Oliver not only has provided a set of vivid descriptions of the hall and farm buildings along with a plan and the names of some of the men who also worked there but has helped make sense of the place at the end of its time as a working farm.

I was fascinated by the mangle room which shows up on the 1938 Egerton survey.

It was on the first floor to the south of the main entrance and in the middle of the room was “an old mangle that was basically a large box full of cobbles that rolled back and forth on rollers on the wooden base when it was worked by turning the handle.”*

And yesterday Oliver was “at Mottisfont in Hampshire and they had a box mangle so I thought I would send you a photo.”

It is  one of those wonderful little bits of history that helps bring me closer to the time when the hall was a working farming inhabited by the Lomax family who were there from 1847 till Mrs Lomax died in 1940.

All of which now pushes me on to search for photographs of the Lomax family.

At present there is one picture which I think will be their children in the garden of the hall in the early 20th century but I am confident that in time someone will unearth an image.

After all until yesterday I had no idea what a box mangle looked like.

Picture; box mangle from Mottisfont in Hampshire courtesy of Oliver Bailey

*Oliver Bailey

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