Visit Rainham Hall

Visitors racing up the eighteenth century staircase at Rainham Hall

Rainham Hall opened fully to the public in 2015 following a major £2.5 million conservation and interpretation project. Today visitors enjoy the Georgian house and fine architectural features, while discovering the Hall's history through our changing exhibition programme.

The Hall stands proudly at the centre of Rainham village, in the urban London Borough of Havering. By aristocratic standards the Hall is a modest house, but when it was built for Captain John Harle in 1729 it must have been a building of some significance in both size and architecture, just as it still is today. 

The Hall is a rare survivor and remarkably fine example of Queen Anne style architecture. It was designed as a home, to be lived in and used. Nearly 50 different families and inhabitants have resided at Rainham Hall, including merchants, artists, vicars and architectural historians.

After being requisitioned during the Second World War, the Hall’s survival was uncertain. Eventually the National Trust took over ownership in 1949, but it was let out to tenants with limited public access. Now fully reopened to the public, and the fabric of the building conserved for future generations to enjoy, we hope Rainham Hall will be a focal point in the vibrant and diverse local community.


Due to the many changes in ownership, Rainham Hall does not have an indigenous collection of furniture or objects relating to any era in it's history. During our major renovation project, a new approach was created to tell the story of the Hall's unique history. Participation is central to our approach, and with each new exhibition programme we aim to exceed our baseline of ensuring 60% of all exhibits are created in partnership with local makers and groups.

Previous exhibitions include:

Everything Harle Left Behind (7 October 2015 - 31 December 2016)

Our first exhibition explored the life and times of Captain John Harle, the sea merchant for whom Rainham Hall was built in 1729. Residing in the Hall for just 11 years before his death in 1742, the exhibition focused on his trading activities, life in the eighteenth century, and risky sea voyages. Local artists and partners created exhibits. The experience featured audio-visual installations, artworks, and objects loaned from the National Maritime Museum.

Remembering the Day Nursery at Rainham Hall (10 Feburary 2017 - 31 December 2018)

We illuminated the fascinating era in the Hall's history when the building operated as a day nursery for local children between 1943-1954. Visitors immersed themselves in our exhibits which covered three floors of Rainham Hall, based on the memories of those who attended the nursery during their childhood years. A series of creative projects, activities and public events ran throughout 2018. Read more about the exhibition here.

The Denney Edition, celebrating an icon of 20th century style (29th June 2019-June 2021)

For our third programme we are celebrating the life and work of our 1960s tenant, photographer, and interior designer, Anthony Denney. For The Denney Edition, Rainham Hall has been transformed into the contents of a magazine, with spaces dedicated to fashion, food, travel and art.