Two magnificent manor houses dating back to the 19th century, Hawkwell blends tranquility with contemporary elegance making it the perfect venue for leisure, business, events & weddings. With new refurbished reception, bar, lounge and event space, Hawkwell House offers availability for exclusive use and utter privacy for up to 150 guests. Located in the quaint village of Iffley, just 2 miles from the historic city of Oxford and just a stone's throw from the river Thames. Situated in 3 acres of private gardens, Hawkwell offers historical character along with contemporary designs, the hotel's 77 bedrooms have been carefully designed to offer space and comfort.
Born on 12 January 1891, Major George W. Allen was the eldest son of John Allen (1857-1934).
John Allen came from Northern Ireland, and after serving an apprenticeship and working for Eddison, eventually joined the Eddison and Nodding company, which he subsequently purchased in 1897.
He expanded the company, later re-naming it the Oxford Steam Plough Company, then again re-naming the company to John Allen and Sons. George Allen was a director.
John Allen purchased Wootten House in 1889, his 2 sons George and James Allen were both born there.
John purchased The Elms the following year.
George Allen remained a bachelor living with his family at The Elms in Iffley. A large garage in the grounds housed Major Allen's renovated vintage cars, just one of his many enterprises.
The Elms was eventually turned into the Hawkwell House Hotel which is still there today. Other members of the family lived nearby at Wootten House.
The last member of the Allen family to live in Iffley was Captain James Cullimore Allen, , who died in 1970..
Major George Allen was interested in almost anything, and put his heart and soul into everything he was involved in. He was a pioneer motorist; one of his cars was a 1898 Daimler 10 H.P., which he bequeathed to the Science Museum in South Kensington. He was also a pioneer pilot, learning to fly in 1929 and buying a red De Havilland Puss Moth, called Maid of the Mist.
He possessed the first privately owned aeroplane in Oxford and had his own airfield at Clifton Hampden.
After office hours, he spent his evenings and weekends flying over various counties, taking photographs of known, and previously unknown, unrecorded sites, mainly archaeological. His photographs were mostly oblique, taken from between 1,000-1,500 feet. He could not find a suitable camera and built his own to take these obliques. After his death, his camera and photographs were given to the Ashmolean Museum. A vertical camera was built into the aeroplane and stayed with it when it was given by Major Allen for use in the Second World War.
If the weather was not good enough for photographs, he flew backwards and forwards over the counties to locate sites to return to when the weather improved, assessing when the shadows or crop growth was just right for the best photographs. He took about 2000 photographs in total and calculated that 600 photographs took around 12,000 miles to fly. His contribution proved invaluable to the interpretation of archaeological sites in Wiltshire, Hampshire, Kent, Somerset, Hertfordshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Lincolnshire, but most especially in Oxfordshire.
Allen was also interested in the features he photographed. He field-walked many sites to see what they looked like on the ground and took a small part in some excavations. In 1936 Allen was elected as a fellow of Society of Antiquaries of London. He also gave lectures to local societies and at the Ashmolean Museum. The manuscripts of several lectures are now in the Ashmolean Museum Allen archive.
Major Allen's life was cut tragically short in a motorcycle accident on 24 November 1940.