Albury IMAGES, albury Hall

The magnificent Albury Hall and estate dominated the village of Albury and the five hamlets from the late eighteenth century up to the second world war. It was the seat of a number of powerful and prominent people in politics and banking and employed the majority of the population of the district in agriculture and allied trades.

The house underwent a number of changes and enlargements in its history and when it was made available by the Glyn family to the Army and RAF for the duration of World War 2 played a vital role for Eastern Command in secret service work with Special Operations Executive with agents behind enemy lines in France and the low countries and work with the French resistance masterminding air drop operations out of the airfield at RAF Sawbridgeworth.

Winston Churchill was closely involved in this secret work - he set up S.O.E and visited Albury Hall on a number of occasions, underground tunnels and rooms were built. It must have been known to the Germans because at least one fifth columnist German spy parachuted in was caught in Albury and bombs were dropped in the area of the airfield and by mistake in Albury End woods.

Sadly for whatever real reason, whether fire, unsafe structure or economic reasons this wonderful country house was demolished in 1950. The site remains untouched for 50 years.

When the estate was put up for sale in spring of 2000 the estate agents indicated that from outline enquires with the local council the reconstruction of Albury Hall would be acceptable - so maybe one day it could reappear.

We are most grateful to Mr Robert Barclay the current joint owner of the Albury Hall site and adjoining 1400 acre estate who commissioned the following fascinating comprehensive historical survey and records of his property compiled by author Anne Padfield.