BHT PICTURE GALLERY - Birchington Hall

Susan Gray
Susan Gray

By 1870, Birchington Hall was in the ownership of Thomas and Susan Gray. There were twelve bedrooms and two lodges beside the road, one for the gardener and one for the coachman.

The house became the focus of many local celebrations and much charitable hospitality. Thomas Gray and his wife Susan played a prominent part in village and Church life, holding teas and Christmas celebrations in the house and grounds for the oldest and youngest members of the community. During the summertime, they had summer fetes and childrenís sports and teas in the grounds. These events are frequently alluded to in the School Log Books and the Parish Magazines of the time. After Mr Gray died in about 1900, his wife was cared for by her niece. When Mrs Gray died in about 1915, the niece married Dr Oscar Worthington, the brother of Dr Harry Worthington. Having inherited the property in her auntís will, soon after this they put the house and farm were put up for sale.

After her husbandís death, Mrs Gray became a most generous benefactor to the village, providing teas and lunches for both children and pensioners at various times. She also bought the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Albion Road in 1892 and promptly leased it to the Vicar for 1 shilling (5p) a year, to be used as an Infant School. It was she who laid the foundation stone of the villageís Public Hall in 1902 (our second village Centre). This is now used by the Cornerstone Church in Station Road.