Oral history at Rainham Hall

Since 2014, a team of dedicated volunteers have recorded almost 100 oral histories for the Rainham Remembers project, interviewing a huge variety of local people from former nursery attendees, friends of Anthony Denney, grandchildren of people born at Rainham Hall, and many more.

The Rainham Remembers project began in 2014, training local members of the community as oral historians, equipping them with the skills to interview people who have memories of Rainham Hall and the surrounding area. Thanks to a dedicated volunteer team, these interviews continue to take place on a regular basis. 

The day nursery

The oral history team were able to interview six people who could share their recollections of attending Rainham Hall as day nursery pupils from 1943-54. The memories unearthed in these recordings, played an integral part in shaping our interpretation approach and inspired the design of the Hall’s second exhibition since opening to the public, ‘Remembering the Day Nursery’. This historical approach informs most of what we know about the wartime nursery given that no formal records of the Hall during this time have survived, and serves as a key reference point for the history of the local area.

" Volunteering on the Oral History team has been an extremely rewarding and moving experience. It’s a privilege to talk to elderly residents who willingly share their memories, and then see those same memories come to life in an exhibition centred on the nursery at Rainham Hall."
- Patti Plested

This project has resulted in ten people being formally trained as oral historians, adept at using specialist equipment, with recordings stored in the British Library archive. The team has also started to train other local community groups, like the Land of the Fanns, sharing best practise techniques and their extensive experience. This will ensure that the lived experience of local people is captured for future generations to explore.  

Do you have memories of Rainham Hall or surrounding area? 

The oral history are always interested to hear from people with memories of Rainham Hall, whether directly or secondhand memories from older family members. We are also keen to hear about changes in Rainham, Havering and surrounding areas over time. If you would like to chat to one of our oral history team to potentially arrange an interview, please get in touch by emailing rainhamhall@nationaltrust.org.uk.