Alec marks 94 years with tour of his Boxmoor Hall birthplace

12-207  Alec Gray is 94 at Boxmoor Hall, Hemel Hempstead.'Three generations of Grays, from left, Alec, Alan and Oliver with the owner of Boxmoor Hall, Sally Ilsley.
12-207 Alec Gray is 94 at Boxmoor Hall, Hemel Hempstead.'Three generations of Grays, from left, Alec, Alan and Oliver with the owner of Boxmoor Hall, Sally Ilsley.

MEMORIES came flooding back for a war veteran when he celebrated his birthday by returning to where he was born nearly a century ago.

Alec Gray, of Lawn Lane, Hemel Hempstead, took a tour of Boxmoor Hall where his parents were caretakers, but did not manage the steep staircase to the small bedroom where he was born 94 years ago to the day last Wednesday.

He said: “I can go through all the building and tell you what it was used for. People say it’s time you had a blue plaque put up at Boxmoor Hall but that’s the last thing I want.

“Everything of importance in Hemel Hempstead wound up here – dances, every type of meeting, committee meetings.”

Mr Gray was invited back by the current hall owner Sally Ilsley, who bought the St John’s Road venue five years ago from Dacorum Borough Council after it had stood empty for years.

Weddings, christenings, training courses and performing arts now all take place at the hall, in much the same way as they did in Alec’s time.

“It has come full circle,” Sally said. “It truly is a special venue, it’s magical here.

“We are working hard to keep the building in a good state and encouraging everyone to use it.”

The hall was built in 1889 by the Box Moor Trust and then handed to the council for the use of the community.