Meet Mr Benn

"As if by magic...the shopkeeper appeared"

This panel came from a section of a door at Bennfield House.  The house was built in North Street, Rugby in 1669 and was the home of the Benn Family. 

The Benns were a wealthy local family. Thomas and Maria Benn were married in 1813 and had five sons. The sons gave a lot to local concerns, funding building work on St Andrews Church, local schools and the building of the clocktower. Because the brothers never married, whatever fortunes they had passed down the line to the youngest, George, being the last to die in 1895. In his will were many bequests to local charities and organisations. He also left the deeds to the Shoulder of Mutton Inn to the town and a bequest to the local board for the provision of ‘town buildings’. This was built on the site of the Inn on High Street and was known as the Benn Building. The council offices were relocated to their new site on Evreux Way in the 1960s with the adjoining venue the Benn Hall.
The glass panes feature two paintings: the larger one shows the George Inn, Market Place, Rugby c. 1810. The inn was built in the 1650s and demolished or destroyed by a fire in the 1840s and a new hotel was built on the site. In 1954 the hotel was replaced with shops.
The smaller pane shows a lady carrying a basket. The high waistline of her dress and apron date it to the Regency fashions of the early 1800s. 
The panel is on display in our current temporary exhibition ‘Picturing Rugby’ on until 5th October in the Local History Gallery.