Eden Hall, originally known as Middleton House was built by a firm of London Contractors for Robert Middleton, Esq. and was completed in 1875. It was estimated that the total cost of the enterprise was in the region of £30,000.
As a youth and young man Robert Middleton was a student under the Rev. Henry Leonard Adams, Minister of the Newark Congregational Church, Lombard Street, from 1834 to 1850. The house was named Middleton House and Chapel, for although Robert Middleton had separated from the Newark Baptists about 1872 he included in the building of Middleton House a Chapel with Baptistry. The local newspaper described the building as ‘novel’ on an extensive scale’ and ‘an object of great interest to the entire district.
The Chapel occupied almost the whole of the central portion of the building and was entered from the Courtyard at the rear of the house. The large pulpit was just inside the entrance. Opposite the entrance was a self-acting organ with gilt pipes, which played up to 30 sacred tunes. There are two galleries and about 200 could be accommodated on the ground floor and in the galleries. For baptisms there was an iron tank sunk into the floor; this tank was reached by iron steps.
Steeped in history
The furniture in all the rooms was of superior quality, some of the inlaid tables having belonged to suites of the late Emperor Napoleon III, who died in Kent in 1873. One of the rooms contained collections of china, which could be found in Dresden, Serves and Worcester. At the South end of the house was a large conservatory, which attracted considerable attention. It was 30 ft. high and 40ft. square with a fountain in the centre. A choice selection of tropical plants thrived within.
Then across the courtyard one found the ordinary stables, coach houses, out-houses and a lofty clock tower. The clock had four dials, each 5ft in diameter and could be illuminated at night. The hour was struck on a bell weighing 100 cwt, and Westminster chimes every quarter hour on smaller bells. There was also in the clock tower a carillon, which played a different tune for each day of the week. The tune was repeated every three hours.
World War II
The Conservatory, which once housed beautiful tropical plants at the South West end of Middleton House, was destroyed during World War II and occurred on the night of the 8th December, 1942. The bomb load of a Lancaster Bomber was accidentally released on to the ground beneath one of the aircraft at starting up time for an operational mission. The same explosion damaged windows in East Stoke Church and there were some reports of pots being shaken from shelves of houses in the locality. There were several casualties among the R.A.F personnel but full details are not available.