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Opened to the public in 2015, Rainham Hall was built in 1729 by John Harle, a sea merchant who had retired to a village that was in Georgian times well outside the city. Later occupants included a Methodist preacher, a bike-mad amateur scientist vicar, architect Walter Ison and his illustrator wife Leonora, and Anthony Denney, society photographer and former Decoration Editor for Vogue.
Now Grade II*-listed, Harle's lovely Queen Anne-style house has undergone two years and £2.5m-worth of renovation work. It is full of the kind of furniture and textiles he would have known, as well as some of the original panelling, plasterwork and trompe l'oeil decorations. Along with such oddities as sculptures made of coal and an 18th-century coin game, you can see Harle's will – rediscovered at a car-boot sale.
A series of immersive exhibitions have looked at topics such as childhood in Rainham during World War II, the life of Anthony Denney, and the times of a coal merchant from Durham, who settled here on Rainham Creek. The hall's Stable Café and Gardens are open daily (10am-5pm) and free to enter.
|Price:||£6, £3 children, under-5s free|
|Opening hours:||Hall: 11am-4pm Wed-Sun (Mar 1–Oct 29), Fri-Sun (Nov 3–Dec 31); Café and garden: Wed-Sun 10am-5pm|
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