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Report - Parndon Hall Medical Library - Harlow - Oct 2011

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by Nelly, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Nelly

    Nelly Fat Fucker!!!
    Regular User

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    Parndon Hall is a LIVE non public site and currently houses the Princess Alexandra Hospital medical library for student medical staff, doctors and consultants.

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    In the North West corner of the Princess Alexandra Hospital site in Harlow, amongst tall magnificent trees, stands Parndon Hall, an Itailianate redbrick mansion with Portland stone dressings

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    Parndon Hall was built in 1867 for Loftus Wigram Arkwright (Great Grandson of Sir Richard Arkwright, who invented the first powered mechinism for spinning cotton)

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    The Arkwrights had been major land owners in Harlow since the early 1800's

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    In 1864 Loftus Arkwright inherited the estate of Parndon from his father, the Rev Joseph Arkwright and commisioned the diocesan arcitect Joseph Clark to design Parndon Hall, the building was
    finished in 1867 and Loftus moved in with his 29 year old wife Elizabeth (nee Elizabeth Reynolds, a renowned and talented horsewoman and artist)

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    Parndon Hall is now a Grade II listed building, the main feature of the house is the massive oak staircase featuring turned balusters and finaled newels.
    The ceilings, walls and doors have brightly coloured decorative scenes painted by Elizabeth Arkwright who in a sense leaves a much larger impression of the house that her husband.

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    The accomplished paintings by Elizabeth imply that she had received good artistic training and used the latest oil paints in vivid colours
    Elizabeth was an large but energetic woman who would enjoy riding out with the hunt and return to Parndon all to be hauled up on scaffolding to continue her painting.
    Many of her larger art works have recently come to auction internationally.

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    Loftus also loved the outdoor life and became Master of the Hunt and a JP, after a riding accident in Epping Forest in 1868 left him paralysed he continued to follow the hunt in a phaeton.
    By 1879 he employed 40 gamekeepers alone but his fortunes soon ended and rents on his land which were tied to the price of grain fell after poor harvests and cheap imports and by 1881 he had 250 acres of farmland worked by only 12 men and 3 boys

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    Loftus Arkwright died in 1889 and Elizabeth died a year later aged 57 and the estate was inherited by their only son Loftus Joseph, but by this time the family fortune was dwindling and Loftus Jnr moved into the farmhouse and economised by renting out Parndon Hall and Mark Hall (the second Arkwright residence)
    Then in 1894 he married Julia Caldwell and they had 3 sons (another Loftus, John and Godfrey) they then moved back into the family home at Parndon Hall. By 1903 Loftus Jnr was truly back on his feet and brought the estates and manor of Netteswell in Harlow and formed Mark Hall Estates Co. with 5,000 acres.
    But his happiness was not to last and in 1912 Julia divorced him, testifying in court that her husband had affairs with the servants and was physically violent towards her.

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    After Julia left him taking his sons, Loftus became a recluse and eccentric. His housekeeper would wheel his meals from the kitchen in a pram and the disrepair of the house was such that rainwater had to be caught in tin bath.
    Loftus died in 1950 but not before two of his sons had met with tragedy, John had been a commander in the Royal Navy and was killed in action when his ship the HMS Avenger was destroyed by a German U-Boat in 1942 and Loftus (Jnr Jnr) had owned a garage in Kensal Rd, London, but sometime before his mothers Julia's death in 1933 he disappeared. He was lat heard of driving recklessly and over the speed limit late at night in London and no more has ever been heard of him.
    This left his surviving son Godfrey Arkwright to inherit Parndon Hall

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    The paintings were whitewashed over sometime in the 1890's the reason is not clear, possibly because Julia Arkwright disapproved of the nude figures or possibly that renting out the house, Loftus needed to cover up the nudes. Whatever the reason the painting were not rediscovered until after the Second World War, some paintings in the entrance hall are still hidden behind the white paint

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    After the Second World War, the Harlow New Town Corporation was formed in 1947 to house the London overspill. It started purchasing land around the old villages of (Old) Harlow, Latton, Great Parndon and Netteswell.
    The Corporation compulsory purchased Parndon Hall and all of its land. Godfrey was now unable to enjoy his inheritance and reluctantly moved out of his family home in September 1952 only to die a year later.

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    In 1954 Parndon Hall became and independent boarding school for deprived boys and girls and was run by a Mrs Katherine "Kitty Clare JP and in 1970 Princess Alexandra Hospital brought the freehold

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    Planning permission has been granted for the conversion of Parndon Hall into 9 apartments

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