Lavenham on film

As a place with a history and stories stretching back to the sixteenth century, one of the more surprising things about The Guildhall is its relatively contemporary offerings. Tucked away upstairs, you’ll find a room that could be described as a ‘Lavenham time capsule’ of the early twentieth century.

This little room is packed with memories on film, photographs and artefacts, all set up to resemble the studio of a visionary resident of Lavenham, one Francis Lingard Ranson

A Master Tailor and Outfitter, Ranson was also a leading figure in the movement to obtain national recognition for the architectural and historical importance of the village of Lavenham itself. It is his legacy that you see all around you today in the preserved buildings, not least of which is The Guildhall.

As well as amassing a collection of photos, Ranson played a key role in the negotiations between Sir William Eley Quilter, the second Baronet and son of Sir William Cuthbert Quilter, who restored the Guildhall and bequeathed it to the people of Lavenham.

Francis Lingard Ranson, Sir William Eley Quilter and the Lavenham Preservation Committee passed the ownership of The Guildhall to the National Trust in 1951; following negotiations which had begun in 1946. The National Trust still maintains and cares for this jewel in the architectural crown of Lavenham today. Immerse yourself in a little bit of history and step back through over fifty years of photography at Lavenham Guildhall.