18 Sep 2017
On Saturday 9 September, Anchor’s West Hall care home in West Byfleet, Surrey was thrilled to open the doors to the public as part of the 2017 heritage open day, England’s largest heritage festival.
West Hall is an historic 18th Century Manor which was built in 1794 by Robert Sparkes and has been passed down through a number of owners over the years. The most notable owners was Frederick Cornelius Stoop, whose sons went on to be England rugby internationals, the Stoop Rugby Ground in Twickenham is a named in their memory. The Manor was also the birthplace to a new type of apple, the Byfleet Seedling and has since been owned by a Swiss bank, before being used as a hostel for land army girls during the Second World War.
The festival saw visitors enjoy a number of walking tours of the property, exhibits showcasing West Hall’s time supporting the land army, talks on the natural history of the site, as well as a very interesting talk by the Byfleet Heritage Society about how previous owners had contributed to the growth and success of Byfleet over the years.
The free event was a great family day out, with activities to keep all ages happy including a number of games and toys from the bygone eras, a fascinating nature treasure hunt, and even the opportunity for the young at heart to launch a rocket.