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The fact that, throughout the war, the Hall was used as a rehabilitation Centre for the Free French under the direction of its founders Col. Baranger, formerly Professor of Chemistry at the Sorbonne (shown below in his laboratory), and the Belgian artist, M Joseph Lacusse, is well known. It is also well documented that Col. Baranger un- dertook research into cancer, malaria and other tropical diseases.

SpyHowever, in an Evening Telegraph on 14th February,
1972 Garron Baines suggests that the hall was used as an intelligence headquarters and a key research centre into gas warfare. In support of this conclusion he drew on the memories of Edward Budziszewski. Edward who lived at 6 Union Street, was wounded while fighting for the French Resistance movement in Norway, came to Finedon and trained as a chemist alongside the professor. Other than the presence of “General de Gaulle” he cited other strange visitors called to late night conferences. Items found in the
hall including:- gas masks, a dusty paper with a special formula coded in mirror writ- ing, and an old address book containing Whitehall telephone numbers and details about secret wartime Anglo-French meetings, tend to support the view. The true story may never be known.