Trinity College, Oxford, the owners of Wroxton Abbey, leased the property in 1938 to Pawsons & Leafs, a textiles and clothing wholesaling company, specialising in women’s clothing. They turned the Abbey into a residential warehouse for the duration of the Second World War. The interior fabric of the house was protected by screening as the clothiers went about their business. The Great Hall was the dispatch department, hosiery was stored in the Library and lingerie in the Regency Room, while the King’s Room became the counting house. The staff lived upstairs on the top floor and enjoyed the fairly relaxed approach to work, many of them coming downstairs to work in their slippers. One night a week alternately, they held a dance or a whist drive.

Pawsons and Leafs returned to their base in St Paul’s Churchyard, London after the war but ceased trading some time after 1968.

Pawsons and Leafs staff outside the Abbey. Photo by Mr H. Hunwick