In the Second World War the house returned to its role supporting the war effort by providing a safe haven from the Blitz for the then London-based Public Record Office. The Onslow family moved out to make way for Public Record Office staff who lived in the house for the duration of the war. Lorries delivered thousands of boxes of precious documents which were stored in many rooms in the house, including towering piles in the Marble Hall.
Once hostilities had ended, the 6th Earl of Onslow returned from Europe where he had been a prisoner of war, urged the Public Record Office to decamp, and re-occupied the house with his wife Pamela and young family.
Mrs Hannah Gubbay was an influential collector of 18th century English furniture, fine porcelain, early decorative mirrors and fine needlework and tapestry. She proved to have a keen eye when choosing these treasures, further developed by her collaboration with her cousin Sir Philip Sassoon, a politician, connoisseur, collector and patron of the arts.
Mrs Gubbay never bought ‘useful’ porcelain, neither was she interested in building a set. Rather she chose individual pieces of the highest artistic and design quality which explains the wonderful eclectic mix of English, French, German and Oriental porcelain in the collection she so generously left to the National Trust. Most memorable amongst her collection of ceramics was her remarkable group of Chinese porcelain birds.