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Object of the Week : F is for Fortune

Tuesday 9 February 2021

Whilst the Museum is closed and our collections unable to be seen by visitors, we have created a weekly virtual museum with an Object of the Week feature from our collections.

Object of the Week : F is for Fortune

The Fortune was a timber framed house dating back to 1657 and was located along Fortune Lane.  We have this rather spooky looking photo of the house in the collection, complete with ghostly figure that can just be seen creeping about amongst the branches.

The Fortune was the scene of a strange twist of fate in World War II.  At the start of the War, Ralph Handbury was Managing Director of RKO Radio Ltd operations in the UK and had been living in Hampstead.  He felt uneasy living in London during the bombing and with a premonition, decided to relocate his family to The Fortune, tucked away along a quiet lane in Elstree, for safety.  They had been living there for three weeks when a land mine dropped directly onto the house on 26th September 1940.  Tragically, the bomb killed his wife, son, daughter and baby, leaving his son-in-law as the only survivor.  These were the only fatalities in the area as a result of World War II.

As well as the photograph, the Museum also has a piece of shrapnel from this fated land mine, which was found about 700 yards away.




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