Essex sisters return to their place of birth nearly 70 years on

Owner of Prested Hall, Mike Carter, with sisters Barbara Gilhooly and Vivienne Joyce. Picture: SARA

Owner of Prested Hall, Mike Carter, with sisters Barbara Gilhooly and Vivienne Joyce. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Barbara Gilhooly and Vivian Joyce enjoyed afternoon tea and a tour round Prested Hall in Feering, near Colchester.

Barbara Gilhooly and Vivian Joyce when they were young girls. Picture: DAVID GILHOOLY

Barbara Gilhooly and Vivian Joyce when they were young girls. Picture: DAVID GILHOOLY - Credit: Archant

Two Essex sisters have returned to their place of birth for the first time in nearly 70 years.

The sisters spent their early years living on a farm in Easthorpe and still live locally today.

Prested Hall is now a wedding venue and hotel but after the end of the Second World War it was a maternity hospital.

“Our mother drove ambulances during the war, so we feel that is why she was able to use the facilities of Prested when it was a maternity hospital” said Ms Joyce.

Owner of Prested Hall, Mike Carter, with sisters Barbara Gilhooly and Vivienne Joyce. Picture: SARA

Owner of Prested Hall, Mike Carter, with sisters Barbara Gilhooly and Vivienne Joyce. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN


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Following in her mother’s military footsteps Ms Joyce joined the air force and spent six years at RAF Cosford near Wolverhampton.

Mrs Gilhooly remembers her father talking about the hall right down to the small details when the girls were younger.

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“He remembered the room mother was in when he came to visit having a parquet floor, and that the delivery room was upstairs and to the left” said Mrs Gilhooly.

The parquet floor still remains in the Oak Room at the hall.

Owner of Prested Hall, Mike Carter, with sisters Barbara Gilhooly and Vivienne Joyce. Picture: SARA

Owner of Prested Hall, Mike Carter, with sisters Barbara Gilhooly and Vivienne Joyce. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

As part of their visit the ladies enjoyed afternoon tea and looked through old photographs in the Garden Room overlooking the moat.

Though staff aren’t exactly sure which room the ladies were born they believe this room is where they would have been taken shortly after birth according to an old photograph taken at the time.

The hall’s owners Mike Carter and Celie Parker have been fascinated to learn more about the building’s history.

“It’s such a lovely old building.

Prested Hall is now a hotel but has served many purposes over the years. Picture: PRESTED HALL

Prested Hall is now a hotel but has served many purposes over the years. Picture: PRESTED HALL - Credit: Archant

“We know that Prested has a rich and varied history, and that it was commissioned during the war by the Army.

“It’s wonderful to meet people who were subsequently born here and share our knowledge with them.

“We have a photograph with nursing mothers taken here at Prested, but have never been able to identify the people in the photograph”.

The hall are now asking for more people who have a link with the building, before it became a hotel, to get in touch.

Anyone who has a connection with Prested Hall and would like to get in touch should call 01376 5733000 and ask for Lindsey.

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