70 years – Interviews 9th – 11th September 2016

Graham Peddie

Andy Ive

Anne Griffin

Barbara Allen

Burt Castle-Henry

Diane Goodman

Geoff Chapman

Heather Winfield

Jennie Titford

Julia Lawrence

Keith Sweeting

Lorna Hartwell

Michael Wood

Mike O’Donovan

Nicole Lazarus

Robert Nixon

Rosemary Hodge

Stephen Poole


Tanners Hatch Youth Hostel was damaged during the war and was rebuilt by YHA members. After a hard days work, sitting by a nice log fire drinking tea on a cold and rainy night, a knock was heard on the door and standing there was an old lady. Can you tell me the way to Wotton Hatch? Yes said one of the group, but first have some tea and a warm by the fire. I have been watching you working on the house she said, its looks very nice. I used to live here years ago. After a while she was ready to leave, on opening the door the lady had vanished. Sitting on the back of the chair was an owl. The only person who had watched the rebuilding was an owl who lived in the roof. We asked around to find the old lady but nobody but nobody knew about her. As old folk lore states it was an old witch, was it her who had come back to her old home in the woods?’

The beginning of the story states that Tanners was damaged during the war, it was in fact two cottages approx 500 years old that were found in a derelict state just before the beginning of WW2 and was given to the National Trust by Lady Greville on the understanding that it was only to be used as a Youth Hostel. A group of volunteers led by Noel Vincent spent two years rebuilding it using whatever materials they could lay their hands on carrying everything by hand the long distance from the nearest transport. Yes the owl did exist there is a photo of it in the hostel sitting in the once derelict building.