At the start of the Second World War
Chorleywood was designated as one of the reception areas for London evacuees.
On 1st September, the first evacuees arrived by train. Several hundred children were assessed for suitability to live with local families.
Some were housed in the top floor of Chorleywood House, in dormitories under the care of a Canadian Matron Mary Brady Thornton from 1939 to 1944. Read more at Memories of Chorleywood ‘ouse
In the early years of the war –
- Staff at Chorleywood House completed 5,038 ration books.
- The Red Cross set up the House as a casualty-clearing centre.
- The old walled garden was used as a training place for the Land Army
- However the most important use of the Estate in 1940 was as a prisoner of war camp: 20-30 Nissen huts at the back of the house were built for about 200 prisoners of war with a British force of 20 soldiers and officers to look after them.
- The Summer House was also put to use by the WVS to sort rivets.
- The House and grounds were requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence and used as base for various regiments a large hut was built by the open tennis courts and used as a NAAFI.
The large ornamental entrance gates to the Estate and the railings were removed for the war effort but they were never collected and have since mysteriously disappeared.