Lilford Hall through the Centuries

Families at Lilford

The Manor and Hall at Lilford was home  to only two families over 500 years, namely the Browne (Elmes) family from 1473 to 1711, and then the Powys family from 1711 to 1949. Lilford Hall remained empty for around 50 years shortly after World War II when the last of the senior line of the Powys family died out. Oddly, the Browne (Elmes) family and the Powys family were at Lilford for exactly 238 years each.

Families at LilfordFamilies 

Royal Visits and Appointments

The Browne (Elmes) and Powys Families had extensive financial and  later social connections with the Royal Family. Some British monarchs actually visited and stayed in the state rooms of the Hall.

Royal Visits and AppointmentsRoyalty 

Darwin and Birds

The 4th Baron Lilfords had a passion for birds and ornithology. He conducted scientific research around the world and in his own extensive, custom built aviaries at the Hall. He also corresponed with Darwin during this crucial time in the study of naturual selection.

Darwin and BirdsDarwin

WWII American Field Hospital

More recently, Lilford Hall was the home to the 303rd station hospital established by the American Airforce during the Second World War (very similar to the one dramatised in the fictional Downton Abbey).

This 1500 bed hospital helped more than 8000 men and wormen who served in the 303rd Bomb Group.


303rd Station HospitalAmerican WWII Hospital 

Polish Technical School

At the end of WWII the British Government needed to cater to the needs of a quarter of a million displaced Polish servicemen and their families.  Part of this initiative  was Lilford Hall Technical School for boys aged between 13 and 17, who would learn mechanical engineering skills, alongside a broader eductation which would ready them for work.

Polish Technical SchoolPolish Technical School