Helen Murray’s talk was about Newhaven Court, Cromer – not the street of that name but the very large family house which used to stand there until it burnt down in 1963. Helen herself is a descendant of the family who had lived there until WW2 and had intensively researched the history of her family and of the house, making great use of family correspondence with famous people, and other documents.
In 1884 Hannah Jane Locker-Lampson (Helen’s great-great grandmother) and her husband Frederick had the house built on a 10-acre plot close to the Norwich Road in Cromer, and named it after the birthplace (Newhaven, Vermont) of Hannah’s father, Sir Curtis Lampson, who had come to London in 1830. They had quite highly-placed social connections and soon started inviting some of them to stay – e.g. Lord Tennyson in 1885, Oscar Wilde, and Kate Greenaway (an artist and writer). Other famous visitors included Winston Churchill in August 1912, and also Ernest Shackleton and Albert Einstein. The tennis courts there were also an attraction for the high-society gatherings.
In WW2 the house was requisitioned by the army and after the war it was sold.
Then in 1963 the house itself caught fire and all personal belongings were lost. The house was bought by a building firm and some bricks can still be seen in some of the new houses on that site. There are new roads where the driveways once were and the old boundary wall, from 1885, is still there.