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Meeting Report - November 2017

Forty-eight members and visitors attended the meeting of the Romsley and Hunnington History Society on Tuesday, 28th November. The speaker was Alan Peace and his talk was about, Himley Hall, Past Present and Future.

As a child I had an Aunt who lived at the top of Himley Road, on the outskirts of Dudley. At the bottom of the very long road was a mysterious house, hidden from the road, known as Himley Hall. The house is no longer a mystery after Alan's talk, but as he revealed, it was full of secrets which he uncovered during the 27 years he worked there.

For many years it belonged to successive Earls of Dudley. It began as a Hunting Lodge, but in 1740 one of many reconstructions took place and in 1770 Lancelot Capability Brown landscaped the grounds and it gradually grew into the grand mansion it is today. Between 1920 and 1936 it was so grand that Edward, Prince of Wales, later to become King Edward VIII, frequently visited the house for weekend shooting parties, among other activities.

After the war, the house was sold to the Coal Board to be used as their offices and many of the lovely rooms were damaged. In 1966 Wolverhampton and Dudley Councils bought the estate and many public events were held in the grounds. Today it is owned by Dudley Council and is used as a Wedding and Conference Centre. Weddings are held in the area that was the swimming pool, which has been beautifully redecorated with an inverted wedding cake ceiling and subtle lighting. Outdoor events, including a huge bonfire, are still held today. The proceeds of some these events go to charity, especially Cancer Research which is very close to Alan's heart.

As for the future, several plans are in progress. The World Owl Trust is in the process of establishing a New World Owl Centre at Himley Park, which will be open shortly, and so the old Hall is still being used and is flourishing today.

There are no meetings planned for December or January and the next meeting will be on Tuesday, 27th February at 7.30 pm in the Church Hall. The talk will be given by Mary Bodfish and the title will be, "Darling Elizabeth." Everyone is welcome.

Pat Evans

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Some contents of this website are taken from the book Romsley and Hunnington, a Millennium History,
written by Joe Hunt and Julian Hunt and published by the Parish Councils of Romsley and Hunnington, in association with the RHHS.

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