In the mid 19th century, this Georgian house with its unusual and distinctive central arch was the home of Elizabeth and Richard Johnson. They were the aunt and uncle of Mary Ann Evans (also known as the novelist George Eliot). They were recreated by Eliot as the characters of Mr and Mrs Pullet in The Mill on the Floss, and Eliot experts think that Marston Hall was the model for their house ‘Garum Firs’. In The Mill on the Floss Maggie runs away from home after outraging her family by pushing ‘pretty little Lucy’ into the mud of a pond at Garum Firs, and there are still large ponds close by today.
Taken over by the London Brick Company
In the mid 20th century the hall and its surroundings were taken over by the London Brick Company as a storage and distribution depot for its bricks which were brought here by road from their brickworks in Bedfordshire. By the time this photograph was taken in 1975 the hall was in poor condition and was occupied by the London Brick Co’s caretaker Mr Adkins and his wife. They told me that the Hall had been used as a prisoner of war camp in World War II and that Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, had been held there for a short time.
Shortly after this photo was taken, the London Brick Company vacated the site and the Hall was demolished. The site is now a small industrial estate.