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The Dunny Lane Tea-room

20th of February 2007


Situated in the vicinity of the Catholic Church gateway in Dunny Lane, there used to be a long wooden hut, which was raised up on short wooden stilts and faced the road. According to Peggy Harpley, local children had great fun crawling underneath it.
The hut belonged to Trust Houses Ltd, as did all the land around it. It was built as a tea room for hikers, well before World War Two. Many parties came out from London and had a great time there. With the onset of the war, fewer people came out of London for pleasure and the majority of younger men were away in the services. The more senior members of our village recall that the hut was a good venue for parties and dances. Miss Foley held ballroom dancing classes there.
From 1944-53, the wooden hut provided a much needed home for the Studley family, who had to vacate Russell Place, No. 44, Tower Hill, which was a tied cottage belonging to Mr O’Neil and which went with the job when Mr Studley worked at Milbaise Nursery. The building was large enough to be fitted out with four bedrooms, which catered for the needs of Mr & Mrs Studley and their eight children, during the eight years when they lived there. Mary Studley of Chapel Croft who married Norman Studley, the eldest son, in 1954, recalls that the hut was very cold and damp in winter and needed three coke fires burning twenty four hours a day to control the condensation and prevent the pipes from freezing up. Where the Catholic Church and the car park are today, the Studley family created a garden, kept hens and had a large store of chopped wood necessary for the three fires.
To overcome the shortage of housing after the war, the Nunfield Estate was built in stages. Joan and David Brown were the first lucky ones to move in pre Christmas 1947. It was not until phase three was completed at the far end that the Studley family left the hut and moved into No.22 Nunfield in July 1953.
The next person to use the wooden hut was Dr Newell from Sarratt, who set up practice in Chipperfield. He subsequently transferred to the new surgery which was built by the Council on the right side of Nunfield around 1957/8.
At a meeting of the Residents Association in April 1958, it was reported that in response to repeated requests by a Mr Burney for a Youth Club, a working party had been set up and suitable premises had been found at the corner of Dunny Lane. The site on which the building stood belonged to Trust Houses Ltd., but largely through the help and generosity of Dr Newell, it had been made possible for the wooden hut to enter another phase of its use and become the home of a newly formed Youth Club.
Unfortunately the facility was not enjoyed for long because within about 18 months, the hut was badly damaged in a fire.  It was superseded in 1970 by a replacement  building, which was erected on its present site, that of the former air raid shelter next to the old school.
I would like to express my grateful thanks to the numerous people who have helped to put this information together for our village archives.
Mary Nobbs

This page is edited by Tony

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