Sisters born at Prested Hall during the time it was a maternity hospital, have returned.

Sisters Barbara Gilhooly and Vivian Joyce enjoyed a trip down memory lane when Prested Hall invited them back to enjoy afternoon tea in the Hall.  The sisters, both from the Colchester area were born at Prested while the Hall was a maternity hospital following the end of WW2.  Neither sister had previously been back to the place of their birth.  They both enjoyed a tour around by proprietor Mike Carter.

Mike said “We know that Prested has a rich and varied history. 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”.

Sisters born at Prested Hall

Barbara, who will shortly be celebrating her 69th birthday at the Hall, recalls her father telling her small details about the Hall. “He remembered the room Mother was in when he came to visit. He said it had a parquet floor, and that the delivery room was upstairs and to the left” said Barbara.

The parquet floor remains in certain areas, and the sisters spent time looking through old photographs of the Hall. Then, they were treated to a delicious afternoon tea, served regularly in the Hall.  They enjoyed seeing the actual room their mother was most likely transferred to following their delivery.

Vivian joined the Air Force and spent 6 years at RAF Cosford nr. Wolverhampton. She returned to the local area to live in Birch. Both sisters grew up with her sister on a farm in Easthorpe, near the lodge. “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 Vivienne.

Owners Mike Carter and Celie Parker have always been keen to learn as much as possible about Prested’s history. “It’s such a lovely old building and it’s always nice to hear from people with a connection to Prested” said Mike. “But it seems we are still searching for the babies from the photograph”.

If you have a connection to Prested, please give the Hall a call on 01376 573300 and ask for Lindsey.


Sisters born at Prested Hall
The Garden Room at Prested Hall








Sisters Vivian Joyce (L) and Barbara Gilhooly (R)









Listen to the sisters being interview by Kath Melandri on BBC Radio Essex  – we’re on at 1hr 39 in!