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Mar 8 11 8:24 PM

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Messaged from Theirhistory site.


Fore more photos see.

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Posts: 251

#1 [url]

Apr 27 11 3:06 PM


Hilton Grange, Old Bramhope, Nr Leeds LS16 9HU

Mr G E Pape BSc

Special school for 120 educationally subnormal children.

Then National Children’s Home first came to in 1907 when Mr and Mrs S T Fawcett offered a farm at Old Bramhope.  Since 1957 the branch has been a residential special school for backward children.  Many of those who come need not only special help in the classroom but also the particular care in a small family group away from home which the Home is able to provide.  The whole well-equipped community works together to enable children to learn at their own pace in a stimulating, stable and friendly environment.  Every effort is made to discover and remedy specific difficulties and special care is given to preparation for leaving and entering employment.

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#3 [url]

May 18 11 8:04 PM

i attended this school from 1982 till 1989 i miss this school alot .... 
and most of staff .... i really hope  we can find mr dave scully and tessa and ian smith i miss them dearly ............. i had lots of fun here i loved the outtings at grassington and the toffee shop we went to :) yummy lol
well i hope they see this message and reply to it........ from jenni x

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#4 [url]

Jun 20 11 11:01 PM

Hello my mum patricia (pat) pallas went to bramhope, if anyone knows or remembers her, please contact me. she sadly passed away 13/12/08 of stomach cancer, she has 8 lovely children who would love to see photos or hear stories. im not sure how long my mum was at bramhope. she has to younger brothers keith and kevin dickinson (still both alive) her mum (my nana) was called flo (florance) pallas. anything no matter how big or small. can you please tell me if i would be able to get access to my mothers files. thank you x

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#5 [url]

Jun 20 11 11:06 PM


The NCH / Action For Children should still have your mothers file which you could ask to see a copy of, your brothers could ask to see theirs, it would help if you all asked at the same point, as this way more information could be passed on, as there would be no third party info to remove.

There is a link here to get to the form you need to download.

Good luck, if you get any problems, please let us knw.



Please contactAction for Children
Business Admin Support Officer
Performance Improvement and Inclusion Division
3 The Boulevard
Ascot Road
Watford WD18 8AG

 The link is

Since 1869 NCH has cared for tens of thousands of children who spent all or part of their early lives at NCH homes in England, Wales, Canada and Australia. ACTION FOR CHILDREN (The new name of the NCH)  holds, in the strictest confidence, personal information on most people who lived in an NCH Home.

Who can get access to personal records?
Knowing who you are and where you come from is important to everyone. NCH has always been happy to share information with anyone who requests it, and because we are committed to openness and recognise the importance of family identity we are very happy for former residents to have access to any personal information we may hold concerning them.

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#6 [url]

Jun 20 11 11:15 PM

thank you philip, sorry i forgot to put MY name :o) its michelle pallas. I really hope i can find something, i will also ask my uncles to apply for there files too. will keep posting if i find owt might rejog someones memory.

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#8 [url]

Jun 29 11 12:08 AM

hi there . you dont know me but .do you know about the boardingschool at bramhope i was there in the late 60s i was there about 2 years iwas in the first block of houses on the lefthand side as you come in the entrance. i was in the left side of that block. i can remember a girl called mary. and a teacther called mr freeman a p.e. teacher thats all . do.s anyone remember it please. get in touch.  bye for now                          my name

d hughes

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Posts: 251

#9 [url]

Jun 29 11 4:08 PM

29 June 2011

Dear David,

Following your request, I thought the following might be of interest:-

Staff changes


NCH Our Family News October 1971

Following the retirement of Mr and Mrs Stanley Hughes, superintendent and matron, and of Mrs N Compton, headmistress at Chipping Norton, a teacher at Bramhope, Mr David Freeman, has been appointed headmaster and superintendent.

Mr Freeman, who has been with the NCH since he joined the staff at Bramhope in 1964, took up his post on September 1.

He was educated at Northampton Grammar School, and holds the Certificate in Education of Nottingham University; Diploma in Physical Education, Loughborough Training College; and the Certificate in the Education of Backward Children, Institute of Education, University of Leeds.

Mr Freeman, who is married with three children, is interested in all sports, having been an active rugby player and athlete.

While at Bramhope he was responsible for the physical education programme, and had special responsibility for the school leavers’ preparation scheme and after-care.   

Best wishes,


H:\Bryn Awel\Docs\NCH\David Freeman Bramhope Chipping Norton 29611 CGW.doc

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#10 [url]

Jul 5 11 7:25 PM

hi i went to hilton grange school back in the 80s laft in 1985 i never liked at first but i had some great freinds its a shame that had to turn it in to houses and flats. but i had some good times there going to grassington and going down to the local villege. I would love if i could get intouch with some of my freinds there was tina morris jackie mason carl benette there was a few i have some photoes on my face book of some of the people but cannot remember all the names but it would be nice to get intouch again.

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#11 [url]

Oct 2 11 1:55 AM

hello my name is donna cunningham ..... i was at hiton grange from 1974 untill i was 16, ,i live in buttfrieds 2  i love been in school because i was love  and i miss it  . i am marred now for 24 year now i had 3 childen from 25 21 17 donna please keep in contact with me please. can you put some pictures on for me thank you

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#14 [url]

Oct 25 11 4:06 AM

My name is Frank Garrity, I was at Bramhope from 1945 -1950 in house 1 and house6 and then Butterfield 1, i
s there anyone around who remembers those days? If so i would love to hear from you.                        

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#15 [url]

Sep 29 12 8:30 PM

Hi jenni i do not think you will rember me i started in 1985 but had to go to pakistan and came back in 1986 untill 1991 i can rember sume of the staff that was there  like mr and ms huge's mr freeman who was that teacher who liked Bradford football club there was sume pupil's that was there one of them was Kevin Carter,Mark Harrison,Michelle Keats.and Mark Jones.We allso had to go to church on a sunday.The days out where fun going to place's like filey and flamingoland and many other place's


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#16 [url]

Sep 29 12 8:33 PM

    Hi jenni i do not think you will rember me i started in 1985 but had to go to pakistan and came back in 1986 untill 1991 i can rember sume of the staff that was there  like mr and ms huge's mr freeman who was that teacher who liked Bradford football club there was sume pupil's that was there one of them was Kevin Carter,Mark Harrison,Michelle Keats.and Mark Jones.We allso had to go to church on a sunday.The days out where fun going to place's like filey and flamingoland and many other place's


I hope to here from you soon evan if you do not now me i was in butterfield 1


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#17 [url]

Nov 26 12 3:30 PM

dont worry it still me its jenni i am using my other name because i lost my last details :( 
your name rings a bell but i cant remember what you looked like and i cant seem to get hold of any photo's from school :( which is really sad .... do you remember mr john mitchell and dave scully they were teachers :) 
it would be nice if all staff allowed us to contact them but they dont :( sad people really .... well keep in touch ok !!! bye for now from me 

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Posts: 251

#18 [url]

Jan 1 13 11:53 AM

They grew up in a home, but had such happy times


Memories of life in Bramhope’s National Children’s Home have come flooding back to former residents, many of whom are scattered around the globe.

An article about the home and its former governor, Rowland Hodgetts, which appeared in Wharfedale Newspapers in December prompted old boys and girls from around Britian and overseas to share their pictures and memories of life at the home and school.

Many of them describe their days at Bramhope as the happiest of their lives.
The home was created when a local woman, a Mrs Fawcett, gave her house, The Homestead, along with two farmhouses and land to the National Children’s Home charity in the 1890s.

The site was first used as a home for boys. Over the years more houses were added to provide accommodation for boys and girls, and in the late 1950s the organisation changed into a school and home for children with special education needs.

It closed in the 1980s, but many of its older, listed buildings were converted into private homes and are now part of the Hilton Grange estate.

It was a sort of hard life but funny how one only remembers the good times.
Doreen Moles (nee Bristow)
Thousands of boys and girls will have passed through the home’s doors.
Dorothy Piper, one of the thousands of children who will have passed through the home’s doors, has vivid recollections of her time there.

From her home in America, Dorothy, or Dolly as she was known then, told how she and her two sisters, Elizabeth (Bessie) and Lily were sent to NCH at Bramhope in 1943, the day before her seventh birthday. She said she would be eternally grateful to the home and that our article brought back happy memories for her.

She remembered going out of bounds one day to pick up a kitten from NCH schoolmate Joan Battersbee. To get to Joan’s she had to pass a dangerous quarry.

“In the cloakroom I showed the kitten to some of the girls who all wanted to pet it,” said Dorothy. “The commotion brought Sister to the scene. When she saw the kitten she was aghast.
“She told me to take it straight back, thinking I’d picked it up from the farm on the home’s premises.

“Dutifully, I trudged back to Joan’s and tearfully handed over the kitten, before wandering dreamily back to the home in the gathering dusk. This time, a full hue and cry was in progress – everyone thought I had run away.

“When it dawned on Sister that I’d been out of bounds not once, but twice in the same afternoon, she was flabbergasted but so relieved that no harm had befallen me in the unexploded bomb-strewn quarry that she did not reprimand me. She just shook her head sadly and told me never to do that again. Of course, I never did.”

Dorothy also remembers a treat she was given a few months after she left the home and was living in Wembley with her recently demobbed father.

She recalls: “The home kept in touch with us for a while to make sure we were all right and we had letters from the sisters. We were in Butterfield II House and a Mr Butterfield wrote to say that he had tickets to be part of the audience of the popular radio show Twenty Questions and asked if I would like to go. Of course, I said yes. He told me to meet him at Victoria Station underneath the Ovaltine clock at a certain time. No one worried about an 11-year-old girl travelling up to London on her own in those days. I did it frequently for my father worked in the City and I would go up there to meet him and we would travel home together.

Doreen Moles (formerly Bristow) arrived at Leeds House, Bramhope, in 1942. She remembers: “It was a sort of hard life but funny how one only remembers the good times including all the jobs one had to do. Elder girls up at 6am to do black-leading the range, lighting the fires . . . Matron walking the lengths of the dormitories shouting ‘all up’ when everyone else had to move . . . each one knowing what job had to be done and by what time.

“Every morning, Leeds House at 7.30 a.m had to run round the whole perimeter of the home with Matron looking out of her window to make sure we all did run”

For all the strictness, Doreen says the children were never just numbers, and her time at Bramhope was her happiest, with outings, Guides, sports and midnight feasts.
“We had every-thing we wanted really – schooling, small hospital, carpenters shop, bakery, farm, etc, and, of course, our own outdoors swim-ming pool, which was forever having to be cleaned out! At least when leaving one could look after oneself.”

She said: “We had our ups, we had our downs, some days sad, a lot of happy ones, but life at NCH Bramhope was great and staff made life as family-orientated as possible.”

Now aged 75, she said if she had her life to live again, she wouldn’t change her time at NCH for anything.

Doreen added: “I always think a special friendship exists between old boys and girls. Some are still in touch with each other after all these years since leaving.”

She says she still has great respect for many members of staff, including Sister Constance, Sister Tressie, Sister Betty Harrison, and “our beloved govenor and headmaster, Mr Hodgetts”.
Peter Ashman was taken in by the NCHO as he approached his sixth birthday, after being evacuated out of London during The Blitz.

“My very first memory is of the exciting train journey from Kings Cross to Leeds,” he said, “the Otley bus to Old Pool Bank, and then walking (and being carried) up the very steep hill to the home,” he said.

“The home was, in effect, an almost self-contained village – the only items being brought in being clothing, meat products, confectionery and groceries. There were ten large houses, five pairs of very substantial semis, each housing some 25 children and two or three Methodist sisters.”

He remembers: “Sundays were special, in that everyone, apart from the few appointed to remain to prepare lunch, attended service in the Home’s chapel, in inclement weather, or walked crocodile-fashion down to the chapel in Bramhope village. After the walk back, and a good lunch, everyone went out for a walk around the perimeter of the central grounds – boys clockwise, girls anti-clockwise, and ‘no stopping for a chat’ – until the bell rang at 2pm This led to the mass return to houses, from where, weather permitting, groups would set out for afternoon walks around the area.”

Peter recalls that the children enjoyed a festive treat: “We received invitations to attend full dress rehearsals for all the big, local pantomimes – Alhambra, Bradford; Grand Theatre, Leeds; and the Theatre Royal, Leeds.

“They provided a very real tonic for the children, for whom most of the presents on Christmas Day were second-hand, donated by well-wishers.”

He remembers being inspired by the piano playing of Leslie Moorhouse, a volunteer at the home, and was introduced to the joys of well played organ music at the Eastbrook Hall Mission, in Bradford.

A trip to Blackpool was his reward for passing his Grammar School entrance exam and he remembers “30 minutes of sheer heaven” listening to Reginald Dixon at the Wurlitzer organ at the Tower Ballroom, an occasion that was to shape much of his life.

“It made a lasting impression on me,” he said. “In time, I wrote and published a biography of him, Mr Blackpool – Reginald Dixon, MBE, was invited to write sleeve notes on his LPs and CDs, and often ferried Reg to and from concert dates after his retirement from the Tower Company.”

He remembers, too, that Wilfred Pickles, a huge radio star of the time, planned to broadcast Have A Go from the home, only for a scarlet fever epidemic to scuttle the plans. Instead, the programme came from Leeds Infirmary.

“Lo and behold, one of the patients was from the home,” said Peter. “As a result of his story being broadcast, he received his own bank account, and many gifts.”

Doreen Walker, whose father, Robert Arthur Earney, was a resident of the home, is trying to find out more about his early life there.

Originally from Otley, she now lives in Australia, “My dad came up from Wandsworth along with his brother, George. He was seven years old in 1908 and he lived there till he was 18 and went into the Army. He never talked about his life there but I do think he and his brother were happy.”
Mrs Walker, who has been researching family history for more than 20 years, said: “I have a lovely letter written by Dad in 1919 to the home from a farm at Cloughton thanking them for a book they had sent him and for getting him his job on the farm.

“I can remember my Dad telling me that they had to got to church three times on Sundays and also during the week. And they had a lot of outdoor work to do, but I think he was happy.”

Were you at NCH Bramhope? Share your memories in the comment box below.

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#19 [url]

Jan 1 13 12:01 PM

Caring man who created a home from home


Rowland Hodgetts learned the meaning of hardship early in life. When his father died, leaving three young boys, their struggling mother had no option but to send one of his brothers to a home.
His own experience was echoed in his wife Sally’s family - all three of her brothers were sent to a home after their father died in an industrial accident.

So it’s no surprise that when he went on to become governor of a children’s home, he earned a reputation as someone who truly cared about his young charges.

Mr Hodgetts first took up the post of governor of the NCH Bramhope Children’s Home in 1934, and was headteacher at the subsequent school. Now, more than 70 years later, he is still fondly remembered by the people who passed through its doors.

From locations around the globe, many of the home’s former residents are in touch with Mr Hodgetts’ son, who still lives in Bramhope. Tony Hodgetts, 75, a retired chartered accountant, has compiled a booklet about the history of the home, and is in regular contact with many of its former residents.

He said: “It started as a little booklet which I wrote when we thought that the place was going to be knocked down completely. Then I was approached by the family archive in Sheepscar. They had been contacted by a woman whose father was an old boy of the home. She wrote to the archive to see if they had any information or photos of the home, but they didn’t have any.

“The archivist rang me to see if I was the Mr Hodgetts who had been the governor. We managed to get some photos for the girl but, unfortunately, they arrived the day her father died.”

But that search for information led him to produce the booklet, which was soon in demand. Old boys and girls started to write requesting that their names be put on the mailing list, which has members in locations around the world including America and Australia.

Earlier this month people from across the north of England gathered at Bramhope to see a seat dedicated to the memory of the village’s former children’s home.

One-time residents of the National Children’s Home and Orphanage met at Hilton Grange, where some of the original home and school buildings have been converted into houses.
And their determination to remember their home is a tribute to the positive impact it had on the lives of so many young people.

The NCHO home came about after a Mrs Fawcett gave her house, The Homestead, along with two farmhouses and lands to the charity in the 1890s.

First used as a home for boys, over the years more houses were added to provide accommodation for boys and girls, and in the late 1950s the organisation changed into a school and home for children with special educational needs. It closed in the 1980s, but many of its older, listed buildings were converted into private homes and are now part of the Hilton Grange estate. Thousands of boys and girls will have passed through the home’s doors.

Mr Hodgetts has brought together a wealth of information about the home over the last decade, making contact with old boys and girls around the world as well as former members of staff.
He said: “I have been very touched by their kind memories of my father, and very impressed by the success many have made of their lives after sad reversals in childhood. It has made the original effort very worthwhile.

“The aim of the NCHO was to provide shelter and comfort to disadvantaged children who would be given an adequate education, a sense of values and Christian principles, and taught a trade before being sent out into the world – with help to find a suitable job and accommodation – at the age of 16.

“My father couldn’t allow ‘his’ children to be patronised as ‘charity children’, and tried to make sure that they all had a sense of their own value. He always dropped the last word from the title, which the NCH later did themselves, and regarded the Bramhope branch as their home rather than as ‘a home’.”

He said: “My father would not allow anyone to use the word orphanage. He got very cross if anyone from outside referred to ‘the orphans’. He said: ‘They are children – and this is their home.’ “My father and mother both lost their fathers when they were small. Both of my grandfathers were dead before the end of the 19th century.

“Mum’s father was killed in an industrial accident and my other grandfather was taken ill and died leaving three small boys.”

In his mother’s family of seven children and a baby, all three boys went into a children’s home. And in his father’s family, one of the three brothers went into a home.

Rowland’s own early experience could well have played a part in his determination to provide a proper home for his young charges. With around 250 boys and girls living in the substantial complex, it was a goal which cannot have been easy to achieve.

But that it was achieved is evident from the glowing tributes still paid to the home and to its governor, and by the strong bonds of friendship which still exist between its former residents today.

Mr Hodgetts said: “It was very self-contained. There was a herd of cattle, a piggery and chickens.”
The complex had a sizeable farm, a large paddock and greenhouses. There was also a cobbler’s shop, bakery and sewing room – so the children were able learn a trade.

Mr Hodgetts said: “The home accepted children from a very young age. There were in my day a number of boys and girls who came as toddlers along with elder brothers and sisters, to ensure that families stayed together. Not all were orphans, many being the product of broken homes or parents who could not cope, often on financial grounds, and during the war there were a number of children who came as evacuees.

“In the 1930s a small party of refugees from Nazi Germany stayed for a while in Bramhope; most eventually went on to relatives in America.

“One, Heinz Rosenberg, came back some years later to visit us when, as a GI, he was posted over to the UK. He arrived resplendent in fawn trousers and brown leather bomber jacket.”

At the end of the war more German children came to Bramhope as part of a national scheme to give them relief from a traumatic situation in their home country. And Mr Hodgetts said they were made welcome in the home and in the village.

Among them was Helga Ludtke.

“Helga was the daughter of a dentist from Berlin, and when the Russians were coming the father gathered the family together and just started walking. They walked and walked and they finished up in Denmark in a camp.”

Helga was one of the children chosen to come to England. “She was a clever little girl,” Mr Hodgetts said. “She won a scholarship to Prince Henry’s and went back to Germany where she qualified as a teacher.

“The star of the show was Deitlind von Arnim. She was the daughter of a Prussian General and lived in a schloss. When she came here she said she couldn’t eat off the rough crockery and was used to having knives and forks that were silver.”

But it was not all one-way traffic into Bramhope. In 1949 a small party of youngsters set off from the home to make a new life in Australia under a Government-sponsored child migration scheme.
While many awful stories have emerged about the appalling treatment meted out to some of the children on the migration scheme, this was not the case with the Bramhope youngsters.
They were helped to settle in to their new life by Sister Olive Matthews who went across from the home with her young charges.

Mr Hodgetts said: “They were much more fortunate than many of the other child migrants, many of whom suffered terribly at the hands of insensitive, and sometimes even brutal, carers. Sister Olive stayed in Australia for two years to look after the welfare of her charges, and all settled and made good careers for themselves.”

One of them, Bill Cunningham, was an outstanding all-round athlete at school and was chosen to carry the Olympic torch at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Bill made a career in the New South Wales Health Service, becoming Director of Personnel.

Former residents went on to have a wide variety of successful careers including authors, a NCH branch governor, a methodist preacher, and a newspaper works manager.

Mr Hodgetts said: “A lot of them have gone into things where they are helping people. One of the things that stands out is how many have been doing jobs connected with health and welfare.”

Life at the home was described by Ilkley resident Dora Bell who taught piano there. Mr Hodgetts said that although Mrs Bell did not go to the home until after his father had left she had still been able to share some stories with him: “She told us she had heard that whenever he went anywhere there was always a train of children following him.”

He said that former residents truly regarded the home as “their” home.

He said: “One summed it up in these words – ‘What would have happened to me if I hadn’t gone to Bramhope? I had a warm bed, three meals a day, and someone looking after me who behaved as though they cared about me’.”

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#20 [url]

Jan 1 13 12:49 PM

Life in OLD BRAMHOPE in Wartime

Part 1

I lived from 1934 to 1948 in Old Bramhope, at the top of Pool Bank, at what is now the Hilton Grange estate developed by Redrow from the buildings I knew as a child. In those days, the buildings were the National Children's Home, where my father was the Governor of the Home and the Headmaster of the new school that had been built on the site in 1933-34. I lived in "The Homestead", which still stands, beautifully renovated and enhanced, at the entrance from Old Lane to the site.

The Home housed 150 boys and 100 girls, aged from toddlers up to sixteen years, in four girls' houses and six for boys. It was to an extent self-supporting, as there was a farm, gardens, greenhouses and a bakery; the farm had a dairy herd, chickens and extensive piggeries, and some land was also given to arable produce, the threshing being subcontracted to a unit that travelled the area in season, with a steam traction engine pulling a thresher/baler from site to site. Three magnificent Shire horses powered ploughing until the end of the war, when the farm acquired a Fordson Major tractor. The gardens supplied fresh vegetables in season. The bakery produced fresh bread and simple cakes each day, and we had our own artesian well and pump to supply fresh water. Groceries were bought in bulk and stored in the administration block, from whence they were issued to the houses on requisition.

The "Block" also contained a sewing room, where clothes that were outgrown rather than worn out were repaired, cleaned and re-cycled to smaller children, and at the back was a fully equipped cobbler's shop for the repair or renovation of shoes. There was an excellent carpenter's shop, and a resident decorator/handyman, to deal with essential repairs. All these facilities existed to provide essential services, but also to train the older boys and girls for life when they left the Home at sixteen. The Home had its own small, modem hospital, built in 1934, with a qualified nurse in charge, with separate wards for boys and girls and a south-facing veranda onto which beds could be pushed, through sliding windows, for the patients to enjoy any fine weather. Above the hospital at the northern end of the site, the School served the resident children, and children from nearby farms and the small village at Old Pool Bank, up to the age of fourteen; in the evening the school was the centre of social life for the community, housing Scouts, Guides, Cubs, Brownies, dance classes, amateur dramatics and film shows.

Most of the members of the staff were resident on or around the site; each house had a Sister in charge, usually with a trainee assistant, and the gardener, cowman, carpenter and baker all occupied nearby houses, mostly at the top of Pool Bank at Hiitcrest. The farmer, Mr J Thompson, lived in the farmhouse on Old Lane that has recently been the last building on the site to be refurbished for sale. The teaching staff and my father's secretary came in to work, the latter on a bicycle from Menston, over the top of the Chevin in all weathers, including snow! (They built them tough in those days!)

This was the way in which the Home operated in normal times, but its isolation up on the moors, and the self-sufficiency arising from the provision of training of the older children for work in later life, meant that life continued after the outbreak of war with much less disruption than in the general community. We were accustomed to a fairly simple life style already, and while we missed ice cream and bananas, many of us were too young to really remember them anyway - though I think everyone can remember their first banana when the war was over, I certainly can!
The children were not all "orphans", some were from broken families, and many were there because their parents could not afford to keep them. Many regarded Old Bramhope as their "real home", but in the long summer holiday may of them had the opportunity to meet up with their families for a holiday break, which also gave some of the staff a chance to go away. It is in the middle of such a break that my narrative of World War 2 commences, with the staff and children scattered over the country on their holidays....

The outbreak of war in 1939 caused a flurry of activity, as the majority of the children were on holiday and had to be returned post-haste. We were on holiday in Morecambe, and I recall a slow and hazardous journey home in Dad's Rover 12, on sidelights in the dark. As we came through Clapham village, my father took a wrong turning and drove through the old ford rather than over the bridge; I remember kneeling up in the back and looking out at the water splashing up the side of the car in the dark.

Everyone had to be issued with identity cards and gas masks, and we practiced gas mask drill at school and carried our gas masks with us in cardboard cubes hanging from our necks with string. We had to learn the warnings; for gas it was a wooden rattle that was swung round by the warden to produce a noise like the call of a magpie (football fans use them these days), while the warden shouted "Gas, gas, gas'. The warning of an impending air raid was a siren like a factory hooter, which was set to give an eerie undulating signal (which for years after could strike terror into anyone who had lived through the London Blitz, as 1 saw on holiday in 1951 when a seaside show violinist imitated the air-raid warning using a violin and two girls from Southend collapsed in tears) and when the raid was over the same siren emitted a steady high note to report "All Clear". Air Raid Precaution (ARP) teams were set up, and my father was Chief Warden for Old Bramhope, and was identified by a white steel helmet with a black "W" at the front. Fire drills were carried out, and training was given on how to put out an incendiary bomb with a bucket of sand, or extinguish a fire with a stirrup pump and a bucket of water. Red-painted buckets containing water or sand were placed in prominent positions in all the buildings, and inspected frequently to ensure that they were full and ready.

Fire-watching teams took turns to be on guard each night, with the telephone exchange manned constantly; my sister recalls taking her turn on night switchboard duty, and the older boys took turns to act as "runners", which was a prized job, as the runner got cocoa and sandwiches at regular intervals through the night. Blackout double curtains, blinds and close-fitting window covers were constructed and fitted, and safe areas were designated for each house, to provide refuge in case of air raids; if the safe area had a window it was fitted with a substantial wooden cover to serve as both blackout and blast protection, and strips of linen were glued to windows to prevent splinters flying. If any chink of light showed, the wardens would blow a whistle, bang on the door, and shout, "Put that light out!' The sirens went a number of times, usually for raids on Leeds or Bradford, which attracted attention as centres of production, but we were only seriously menaced once, on the night of 19m. August 1940. A Heinkel 111 of Kampfgeschwader 53 dropped high explosive and incendiary bombs on the Chevin, near to the site now occupied by the Chevin Lodge Hotel. We all thought at the time that the target was RAF Yeadon and the Avro factory that was under construction nearby, but apparently the pilot was off course and thought he was bombing Leeds, according to post war studies (by Gerald Myers for his excellent book "Mother worked at Avro") of LufiwafFe records. It appears that he was so surprised at the reception he received when searchlights and the light ack-ack battery at Carlton crossroads opened up, closely followed by the heavy ack-ack at Adel, that he reported on his return that there must be something important in the area. So a week later they sent a Junkers 88, a much faster light bomber, which came up Wharfedafe and round the Chevin, and dropped some more bombs, roused the reception committee and fled. After the first raid, the Home was scattered with shrapnel from the airbursts of the anti-aircraft fire, and my father found one of the canisters that had held a batch of incendiaries, known as a "Molotov Cocktail", on the hockey pitch. We felt that we had had a close shave, but I only recently found out how close when I received a copy of the official plot map of the bombs that fell. There were about 60 incendiary bombs, ten high explosive bombs, not all of which went off, and two very unusual bombs that were high explosive and filled with oil for greater effect which fortunately failed to detonate and were taken away by bomb-disposal experts for examination. The incendiaries fell in a wide grouping to the east of the main cargo, and came within a few hundred yards of the Home, so we had quite a near escape. The sound of the bombs falling, getting nearer and nearer, was quite scary, but I remember being alert and wary, rather than terrified, as I lay wrapped in a quilt under a substantial mahogany table.

The light anti-aircraft batteries at Carlton crossroads were on either side of Harrogate road; the one above Green Gaits farm was very accessible, and was on the site what is now the animal rescue centre, and the living accommodation, in a wooden hut, was just through the field gate which is used for access to the car boot sale in the big field to the south of the crossroads. I went there several times, as it was only a quarter of a mile away, and was allowed to sit on the seat of the Bofors gun and rotate and elevate the weapon.

The other site was larger and less accessible; probably far this reason it is 'Listed' and still well preserved, in the field between Otley Old Road and Carlton village, near Penny's Farm. This site also had a barrage balloon later on in the war, which was used for training paratroopers when the Airborne Division was formed. Many years later, when I was showing some pictures to friends, one of them, Andy Clements, revealed that he had done his basic parachute training at Carlton, being billeted at RAF Yeadan and jumping from the balloon basket. He told me that his platoon was assembled every evening at dusk, put into the back of a three-tonner and taken up to the Avro factory, where their task was to move the artificial cows around, to maintain the illusion that it was still a farm field - we were aware that something of the sort was going on, but it was only after the war that the activities of the camouflage experts of the film industry became known. He also told me that the three-tonner dropped the lads off at the "Peacock" at Yeadon Fountain to slake their thirsts before going back to base.

The site also had an interesting wire-mesh net mounted an poles surrounding the guns, which in the moonlight looked like a sheet of water. As Yeadon Dam had been drained at the outset of war (which gave us the opportunity to catch all sorts of fish, including pikelets, and the adults to net big pike as the water receded), we thought that the net was a decoy, and noted with some unease that the distance and bearing of the Home from the net was almost exactly the same as that of the Avro factory from the Dam. In fact the net was meant to be an aircraft-spotting device, to pick up and magnify the sound of an approaching raider. It came to light after the war that the Luftwaffe was unaware of the existence of `The Avro' and had in fact been briefed to attack Leeds on the night of their near miss. The worst damage the factory ever suffered was when the roof fell in under the weight of 10 ft. of snow in the 1947 winter.

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