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#41 [url]

Apr 27 10 8:01 PM

Hi shelage
                many thanks for your reply,   I feel we must have seen each other at harpenden
                at some stage mabe at sunday school or swings and slide etc
                 I cannot make the reunion  we booked a weekend away back in aug last year
                 The 10th is the only day we could not make  I did think about driving up on sat
                morning  then back to Cardiff in the afternoon but it such long drive 
                 It would have lovely to have seen you all  Have we changed much i wonder
                                            take care 


Hi Brian!  Yes I bet we must have seen each other back then!  Would we recognize each other now?  That's the question I'm asking myself about all the wonderful folks who post here--even ones I DO remember well!  Good job we'll be wearing name tags. Too bad you can't make the reunion this time, but I have the feeling this will happen again!  :-)  All the best anyway, and keep in touch.

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#42 [url]

Apr 28 10 3:34 PM

Hello Jeff,
Sorry I dont remember the name gareth Reed, probably sometime after me. Of the Redbourne boys the only  names I remember were Ivor and Ellis Webb, twins.  I remember quite a few of the girls names unsurprisingly.  After a while they appeared to make a bee-line for NCH boys probably to wind-up the Redbourne boys, whoknows?   Roy

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#44 [url]

May 2 10 1:37 AM

Hi Philip yes i have some photoes i could put on  but not to sure how to do it ,i will have to wait for my brother jeff to come down and show me how to do it  judy

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#46 [url]

Aug 22 10 7:45 PM

Hi all, my name is debbie martin & i was in care with my little sister sandra from 1971..after 3 yrs of being moved from fosterparents & council run homes all of whom didnt know what to do with 2  little babys, finally we arrived at NCH Old Alresford branch from the begining of 1974, we was placed in the care of Sister Ena Davey in the gramerci group where we stayed until 1977. The Alresford branch needed some repairs to the house so the whole of the gramerci group & Sister Ena moved to highbury house stokesmead Alverstoke where i stayed until being sent home in 1979. please let me know if you remember us as a lot of my past is a blur....thanks xx

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#47 [url]

Dec 28 10 5:08 AM

Hi Caroline are you one of the soveriegn collection? excuse spelling. My name is Jacqui I was in the group with vivienne susan and Christine who was my best friend then and still is today If you are pls drop me a line am a little in shock at the memories this website has generated but am thankful also. I am living in America have been for 10 years. I have a beautiful daughter Stephanie. Anyway hope it's you. Merry Christmas.

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#48 [url]

Feb 24 11 2:41 AM

Hello, I'm Michelle and I was at Pannal Ash in the early 1950s in Barton House. I now live in Surrey- have 3 (adult) children and 7 grand children. I remember NCH with great fondness. The sisters there gave me a brill start in my early growing up years.

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#49 [url]

Mar 9 11 6:28 PM

Hi my name is Shirley i was in the Evenley hall Brackley NCH from 1967 to 1974 before that i was in foster care with my brother john we both moved to Brackley in 1967 my older two brothers was there as well roy and derek gibbings i dont really remember much about it all well sorry i do but i am bad with names so i am hoping that a few might be on here i am new to this only heard about it today. so if any one has any info please get in touch thanks

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#50 [url]

Mar 29 11 8:32 PM

hello all, can i for the moment say a big HI, i will post (prob tomorrow), may be long winded, but i hope it will be worth it.
If anyone from May Lodge, Scarborough sees this and was resident in late 60s, it will make it even more special.
 And Phillip, i can relate to nearly 100% of what you went thru, albeit i was older when i was "homed"

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#51 [url]

Mar 30 11 9:23 AM

Hi all, well 2 sleepless nights over, i can now put thoughts to print. It was the Neil Morrisey programme that stirred up a huge amount of memories for me, i would be telling lies if i said i didnt get emotional at times, looking forward to thursday part 2 very much.
 As i said earlier, i can echo just about all Philip put on his story, Was this the "norm" in the NCH?.
I was taken into care in the mid 60s with my 3 sisters, the dates are vague but immaterial i suppose.Now looking back, i dread to think where i would have ended up had i not been taken away. I played truant, but thats all, suppose a well behaved kid, but could have fallen off the tracks easily being about 11/12 years old.
 I cant remember ever going to court, wasnt told anything till the morning a car turned up to collect us (2 doors so we wouldnt escape from the back), and as we were loaded into the car, i can remember my fathers last words, "you being the eldest John, take care of your sisters", and the last wave goodbye as we turned the corner.
 I didnt cry, as Neil Morrisey said "the brick wall came down,and my survival skills kicked in".
To Scarborough we went from Gateshead, all 4 of us huddled in the back of this car to May Lodge.
From that day, my life changed forever, most of what Philip put, was put into action, but no Slipper, i got caned once, i did well at school, even got a letter from a Mr Jackman from Head Office congratulating me on being 4th top of the class in my firts year, class size of 42.
My claim to fame was in centenery year 1969, where NCH organised a 5 a side football tournament and the final was played at the Royal Albert Hall in London. We just missed out on the final, but i can certainly remember staying 2 nights at Harpenden 1 on way , and 1 on way back, and can remember how welcome we were made.
 The centenery in London was moving as the Duchess of Kent closed the ceremony.
 I got a job as soon as i left school on a farm in the Yorkshire moors, can remember falling asleep on the way home as the work was so hard, and yes i paid board till i left the home and went back to Newcastle/Gateshead.
 I can honestly say, that overall, my time at the home taught me ...independence...respect...survival skills.....but...i cant Love, i dont really know the meaning, i cant show affection, im on my second marriage, have 2 grown up children, and a son nearly 5.
 I wasnt shown love as a child, only abuse i can remember, i wasnt shown Love in the home, so i have still got this brick wall around me, even at 57 years of age.
 This is the first time i have ever had a forum to talk about my experience, and im hoping , like Neil Morrisey, to go back and visit my past, and get some kind of closure, maybe even more when i hopefully get the cause of me going into care file, and the file held whilst i was in care.
 Obviously there is a lot more i can print, but its too hurtful, so maybe, just maybe a closure is on its way.
 Thank you for taking the time to read this, and i hope that i can draw from other peoples experiences.
 On a different matter, I'm looking for Residents from may Lodge, i can recall lots of names but i will not post as im not sure if i can, maybe Philip can guide me on this.
 Once again, thank you for readin and i hope you will understand.


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#52 [url]

Mar 30 11 9:54 AM

As to posting names, just put the first name a rough age for the years they would have been in 1950/60s etc and a rough description eg Ginger hair etc, that should make it easy to work out who is who.

As to unlocking the past, it's your file that will be the key.
What you mention about showing affection, I think for some of us that went into care direct from parents, affection seemed to vanish from later life.

If you ever want to send a private message to me via the group, please feel free to do so, as to closure, yes that is possible, but from time to time you will think of some hapier times from your period in care.

Thanks again for joining the group .


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#53 [url]

Mar 30 11 1:41 PM

HI John!
And welcome to this forum!  Thank you for sharing some of your story--and I think you'll find a safe place here for anything at all you want to share about your time in NCH care.  We all have different experiences, of course, but such a close bond, as well, in having lost our families of origin, one way or another, and being shuttled around. And most especially through our shared knowledge of the NCH homes.
I was at Harpenden from 1946 to 1952 (and glad to see that your two nights there were a pleasant memory!).  It wasn't perfect there either--as some will testify--but on the whole I feel it was a safe, good place, and in fact have come to wish I could have been there longer than the six years I was there, because the "before" and "after" were very muddled, difficult years.  The NCH experience taught me at least some routine and safety, especially being with so many other kids "in the same boat" so to speak!  But as you say, love and affection were probably not the highest order of the day--more important would have been discipline, manners, doing your chores, and stuff like that.
What I especially loved about Harpenden were the fields and woods, and the freedom to be out there, playing.
Glad you found us!

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#54 [url]

Mar 30 11 2:08 PM

Hi there John wecome too our site my name is Bert Baldwin i was in the NCH Harenden on reading your message i can relate to much what you had to say, and having got my files it filled in many blanks and i am sure it will do the same for you, good luck and hope too hear from you soon best regards Bertie B.

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#55 [url]

Mar 30 11 2:32 PM

Thank you all for your kind welcome and reassuring messages. I have indeed set the ball rolling, in fact having just contacted the NSPCC, so i can hopefully get my files from them, im not expecting miracles, but i look forward to the day that both files arrive from the NSPCC and Action for Children, a closure, im not sure, but i live in hope.
 A question i would like to ask from fellow members is this, As i was deprived love and affection prior to and in care, it has had a lasting affect on me all my life since, do you find it easy to accept love and affection as well as give it?. All the NCH seemed to do to me, was alienate me to lots of things in life, not a strict regime, but more of a stereotype one, im not sure if that describes it, but with a fear factor built in.
 I was scared to fall out of favour,  as having 3 sisters to "Guardian" over so to speak, i was scared they would split us up.
 I also find that what they "build/bully" into you is not always for the best. I am so independent even today, where i can turn my hand to most things, sewing included, but not knitting, indeed, my sister said to me, "you only need a woman for 1 thing", cold and crude i know, but thats how i come over.
 As time goes on, i will let you know when i get my records, and what effect they have on me.
 This is my only opportunity to open up with my feelings, some angry ones, some good ones. I am not even sure i want the wife to see what i have printed here, as i believe there is a stigma attached to you "being in care", and "why you were there", can anyone relate to that?.
I have bottled all this up inside me for about 45 years, enough to make me want to cry and scream,and hit a wall, its so frustrating, i can only think society got it wrong with me as to how i "thought" life should be.
But life goes on, i have a wonderful boy who i adore immensly,i show him, or try to give him the love i never had. So my next step is the files, so watch this space!.
 I asked earlier for friends i knew at May Lodge, Scarborough, whos names were as follows..
 Barry,Malcolm, and anne T....n..they were older than me, anne being about 16/17 in 1969

Peter and Michael B...s...from Stoke,,,Peter was my age, Michael a few years younger

Terry H....e and his sister from Darlington...Terry was about my age

Susan M....y...dont know her home town...but approx my age

Judith home town

Kevin R........n and his brother Bernard no home town
More names will spring to mind, so once again people, thank you for the welcome to the happy family , so to speak...

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#56 [url]

Mar 30 11 4:39 PM

 Hello John Lees,

I think all of us on this site have suffered the trauma of mental or physical abuse in one way or another, and we all have our own way of coping.   I had a lot of sad memories and I carried a lot of  'baggage' around with me for very many years after I'd grown up. It certainly effected my life and the relationships I had with other people.  Having had an unhappy childhood, I was ensuring that I also had an unhappy adulthood, and I was making those who gave me love and support suffer in the same way !  Eventually there came a time when I realised that although I hadn't been in control of my life when I was growing up, I CAN control my future life and I can give happiness to those who love me now.


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#57 [url]

Mar 30 11 5:23 PM

Hiya and welcome to You John Lees. As has often been said to Me (and very gratefully taken on board) Never feel that You are alone in Your journey because We are here for each other. Thankyou John. Christine :)

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#58 [url]

Mar 30 11 5:47 PM

Hello John,

For me, the value of this site (albeit in its earlier MSN incarnation) was the opportunity it gave to discuss my time in Children's Homes with others who could share and understand the full meaning of those experiences. After leaving the NCH, which, I fear, I utterly detested, I could not speak about my time there to anybody at all. I suppressed all memories of my six years "inside" to such an extent that I almost began to wonder if the whole thing was only an imagined nightmare. The presence on my bookshelf of a copy of the Bible endorsed "Roger Cox, NCH Doddington, Kent, Feb 20th 1949" was proof enough, however, of the reality of my past. When I retired and started browsing about on the world wide web I discovered Philip's page of his recollections of NCH care:

and then found his NCH forum on MSN, where, for the first time in more than half a century, I could talk to others about the NCH and what it all meant to us individually. I then obtained my records, sadly depleted because the NCH Alverstoke "authorities" saw fit to destroy everything within the file (not just mine - it was a policy applied to the files of all the other inmates of that time) other than the anodyne six monthly official reports. I, like all the others, was reduced to mere cipher in the Alverstoke archives. I do have the initial correspondence from my mother and the NCH that led up to my incarceration in 1946, which, I imagine, was kept at Highbury, and thus escaped the Alverstoke bonfire of personal documents, but I have nothing else - no notes or photographs. 

Philip has given us all a wonderful way of meeting up and talking in cyberspace and we owe him a great vote of thanks. You will find others on this Forum, John, who understand your emotions, and can discuss the past with intelligence, feeling and humour - Shelagh and Jennifer have already shown the way. You will feel a million times happier as a result of reaching this place.


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#59 [url]

Mar 30 11 8:04 PM

Hello John
               I am so glad you have read some of the comments on our website You will find
               all of us have a story to tell Thanks to Phillp we have shared our experiences and
               now find we can relate to each other a kind of bonding if you like.
               I did find telling people i was brought up in a childrens strange because some
               would say you poor thing how did cope others would say what did you do wrong
               I would say there hundreds of us in the same boat we all got through it
               Leaving the home made me look for love which i found and have been happily
               married for over 40years So John dont go beating yourself up over something
               you had no control over We have all found by chatting on this website some
               laughter and some of our fears were not to bad  anyway take care John look
               forward to reading more of your letters

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Posts: 871

#60 [url]

Mar 31 11 2:50 PM

Hello John,
Welcome to this great site.  I'm glad that you have had the courage to tell some of your story & hope in doing so, it will help towards bringing closure to what must have been a very difficult childhood for you.  I think we all suffered from the stigma attached to being a 'home kid', but in my case I later realised how much better off I was than alot of children & it helped.  

Only a couple of years ago, my husband & I were staying with friends when a neighbour called round collecting on behalf of 'Action for Children'.  I told her I had been brought up in the NCH & she said "had you been a naughty girl".  Some people are so ignorant.
Cheers Di 

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