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#21 [url]

May 10 11 9:54 PM

Hi - it's Henry Langstone here (aka Tolbert)

Proud or not to be. I have never been ashamed, embarrassed, shy or slow at coming forward in informing people of my background. The NCH was an event completely out of my control and the fact that I view myself as a relatively 'upright' member of the community gives me considerable pride because of the 'privileged' backgrounds of the people with whom I mix, even at my reasonably advanced years (70). I am also of the opinion that if I hadn't experienced Harrogate followed by the Harpenden printing school, my life would not be as it is now - happily married (but, please, don't ask my wife!) and two respectable and successful children. I don't understand those who try to conceal their background, so therefore from the view of comparative comfort and happy in what I have achieved one should feel sympathy for them.
Regards, Henry (Harrogate 53-56, Harpenden 56-61)

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royl

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#22 [url]

May 10 11 11:56 PM

Hi Young Henry,

I could say snap,I feel exacty as you do with regard to my stay at the NCH.   Where were you living during your time at the printers?

Roy

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#23 [url]

May 11 11 9:31 AM

Hi Henry I seem to remember you at Harrogate you were in no 8 and i seem to recall you had a sister, i also seem to remember you were from Brixton in South London am i right if so my memory is not that bad.
Regards Terry Rooney

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dianaw

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#24 [url]

May 11 11 2:34 PM

Hi Henry, Welcome back.  I am also very happy in what I have acheived, extremely proud of my 2 daughters, & my 5 grand-daughters who are all very successful, intelligent, hard working upright members of the community, which has no bearing whatsoever on any hang ups I had as a young person.  So therefore do not require any sympathy from you or anybody else.
Regards Di

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#25 [url]

May 11 11 6:29 PM

Hello Diana

My comments were only intended for those who had current 'shame' of their roots, as an example my sister knows of a woman who wants her time in the NCH kept quiet. It's to those to whom I was offering sympathy, not those who have rightly come to terms with something that was beyond their control or influence and for which no stigma can be attached.

Sorry if my sentiments were not clear.

Regards

Henry

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#27 [url]

May 11 11 9:30 PM

Hi Terry

You are spot on! Not only my sister, Jennifer, and I were in No 8 but so was our brother, Michael. We moved from Brixton Hill to Fairfield in 1953, I was almost 13 and Jennifer and Michael, being twins, were about 10. How you remember that we were from Brixton astounds me! There's nothing wrong with your memory.

Do you have any other memories of our years in Harrogate. I remember Wheatlands (one year) and the technical school (2 years) for school; Whitby and the Isle of Man for holidays. Do you recall stink bombs at Ramsey when the Queen visited, or tying up Hilary Roycroft? Or how about a stay at a mansion near Lancaster, possibly winter 1955, for a bible school, Ray Crisp is the only person I remember who was also there. For some Freudian reason girls feature more prominently in my Harrogate memories than blokes.

Speak soon. Henry

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#28 [url]

May 11 11 9:53 PM

Hi Roy

Thanks for the 'young' part, much appreciated!

The first two years I spent in Mayfield House before being moved around a number of digs: Batford, St Albans, Southdown and Luton. I only spent a couple of weeks on the Oval, just to the left of the Bernard Barron Hall (spelling could be adrift).

Were you in the PTS?

Regards, Henry

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#29 [url]

May 11 11 10:21 PM

Hi Henry

The Bible School was Capernwray Hall near Carnforth which was run by Major Ian Thomas and his wife and I was always mystified as to how he financed it. I went there about three times and on one occasion we actually cycled from Harrogate and Pop Roycroft stopped when he was passing us near Settle Bank and gave us some refreshments. 
When we cycled back after perhaps a week there I recall being absolutely worn out when we reached Killinghall so we stopped for a rest before struggling the last 10 miles or so back to Fairfield.
All good character building stuff !!!
Ian Thomas was  an evangelical who packed a big punch with his religious fervour but he was a very generous man too.

David Green

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#30 [url]

May 12 11 8:44 AM

Hi Henry The reason i can remember you were from Brixton is when you first came to Harrogate and no 8 i was no 7 I remember telling you i and my brother were from Clapham so we had something in common. ( perhaps my brother Tony had left already ) I  recognized most of the names you have mentioned from Harrogate who went south and the printing at Harpenden i think.
I am hoping to go to the reunion this September at Harrogate and am looking forward to it very much,most of us have not seen each other for more than 50 years so a lot to catch up on.
Say hello to your brother & sister. 
Regards Terry Rooney

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#31 [url]

May 28 11 2:29 AM

me and my bro went home for a week, we were playing football against some garage doors, some girl asked me where we lived because she hadnt seen us before, i told her we live in a home, my mother went ballastic, lol, welcome to the real world, cheers martyn (frodsham)

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dave

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#33 [url]

Aug 23 11 8:25 PM

Thanks David for pointing to this page from the NCH homes today topic. This is one of a few topics I keep meaning to contribute to but had forgotten.


I have to admit to not being open about my background for many years. I cannot explain why, whether it was from being embarrassed or ashamed I don't know. Like others I used to say I lived in Hertfordshire for most of my school life and stayed with aunties and uncles never really saying anything. I just remembered what a great and happy place I was in. As I got on with learning a trade and starting a family life of my own I had almost forgotten about the home only thinking of it when something may have sparked a memory but never actually feeling much about it.


I now have no problems at all in telling anyone about my life in the NCH and how proud I am to be part of this family. There has been a number of things over the past four years that has helped to make this so.

  1. Finding Philip's own site some four years ago and joining the first forum set up by him. 

  2. Attending the first reunion at Harpenden that very same year. My emotions ran wild when I first stepped into the grounds after over 30 years from when I last saw the home.

  3. Reading Philip's book. I found many things in common with his experiences. 

  4. Obtaining my records. These filled in a lot of gaps in my memory and made me realise just how much the NCH is part of my life.

  5. A couple of years ago I was found to be suffering from mild depression and stress related anxiety partly to do with the job I was in. After some long talks with my doctor he got to the bottom of it and set me on the right path without the use of drugs. I am convinced this has also helped me to open up about my past and discuss things I would not have considered doing just a few years ago.

One thing I hadn't realised was my children didn't know I had been in a home until I told them I was going to the first reunion! I don't think this was anything to do with being ashamed it was just something I never spoke about. Whilst my wife new I had been in a home she didn't know the full story until I started to discuss it freely.

A big thanks is owed to Philip for all his hard work without which I would probably still be going through life without acknowledging my past.

Thanks also to all who contribute to these sites helping us to share our experiences and gain confidence to speak about them.

Thanks for your time

Dave








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#34 [url]

Aug 29 11 8:32 PM

Dave

Your frank and open comments are really interesting and I think many of us share your basic sentiments about how you feel now and being honest many will admit it was not always so.
Something which fascinates me now that we are corresponding through this forum and indeed are to be meeting up shortly after so many years apart is that we never had instruction or discussion with our "carers" in NCH prior to our departure for the big wide world, as to how we should reflect on our time with them or how we should communicate with others when the inevitable subject came up about family background etc
And yet despite this many of us speak very positively about our upbringing in NCH and many of us now say we are proud of this unusual childhood which we experienced. That is a wonderful testimony for the work they put into our caring and I also believe it also reflects the strong Christian ethic and ethos of the whole NCH foundation.
That's not to say I am religious because I freely admit I am not but I certainly try to live my life by what I perceive to be Christian values.
I don't know whether I am making sense here or just issuing the ramblings of an old but not very grumpy man.
And that reminds me of another thing I often puzzle over - the fact that I have always had my glass half full rather than half empty. Almost always I have had an optimistic outlook and I must surely thank people like Sister Edith and Pop Roycroft et al for this.

Perhaps I could start a new topic heading entitled " How much influence has the religious aspect of our NCH upbringing had on our adult lives"?

David

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malsal

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#35 [url]

Aug 29 11 10:53 PM

Hi Dave .I found your letter interesting but puzzleing ,what is religious ? is it going to church every week even if you don't live by christian ethics (and a lot don't) ,or believe in God and all it stands for and live by " christian ethics but not go to church often like me. Just a thought 
Regards Malc S 

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royl

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#36 [url]

Aug 30 11 1:30 AM

Hi Malc S,
                       You ask a very interesting but highly loaded question 'what is religious'.  The simple but somewhat glib answer is 'religious is living by a belief'.   I personally feel that if the NCH failed in any way it was in not concentrating on explaining why we should hold that belief.  The interminable round of chapel, once on Saturdays and three times on Sundays, with it's interminable liturgy only served to make me consider ways to avoid attendance. As far as I was concerned the big question was never asked or explanation offered.  That is not to say I didn't gain anything from chapel, my love of good music stems from that first heard there.  I do not believe that the religious side paid a great part in making me proud to be an ex NCHer but the standards for life that were set there have stood me in good stead ever since.

Roy

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#37 [url]

Sep 17 11 8:38 PM

Thank you, these accounts are remarkable and you should think about getting them printed they would makle a welcome change to the usual tales of woe about being in a 'home'. For someone who has only just realised that they were actually in NCH care despite visiting Sheringham with my adoptive parents when I was young and recall a happy atmosphere..but actually only of babies and sisters I've found your attitudes and your strengths speak for themselves of your lived experience, you are proud and should wear that..but I'm not quite sure why some of us were adopted and others who speak of being very young weren't.
Pauline

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#38 [url]

Sep 21 11 8:36 AM

First up thanks to all for putting there  two bobs worth into the subject of being proud or not of, being brought up in the NCH .
Hi Henry, Ken Grimes just putting my bit in, its great to here Royl refer to you as young Henry as I am the same vintage as you, feels good,
Being sent down south [Harpenden] from Bradford was one of the major turning points in our [Grimes family] lives, and have never ever regreted it ,and will be forever greatfull to Mr Shutt and Sister ( Winny) Winifred for their combined efforts to keep the Grimes family in the one unit, so any one who wants to know about our upbringing, I tell them with all the pride in the world about the NCH and what they did for my family, siblings, sure there were things that I was not over the moon about, such as most of the time i was hungry, in the winter the radiators in OGB never got above teppid and no matter whose job it was to stack the boilers did not make a blind bit of difference, and there was as some one pointed out, Saturday morning, Sunday morning,Sunday afternoon and last but not least Sunday evening church, now that was a shock to the system we had naver seen the inside of a church in our lives, but lucky for me Bert B lived upstairs with Sister Margery and he convinced me to join the Boys Brigade, thus giving us a leave pass from  Sunday church, good on ya Bert, however we had to attend the church in the village.  Mr Homewood was the main man there and he was a good preacher.
My take on religion taught to us at Highfield is that it gave us the grounding for us as individuals to make up our own minds which way to go when we left the home, as for me there is something far more powerfull than us down here, thank you Sister Winny for looking after us Grimes's when we desperately needed it ,
And just to finish off, people over the years have said that they feel sorry on hearing our story, and thats when i pull them up and say, that when you were a kid on a summers evening how many players could  you round up in ten minites to fill two sides of a football or cricket here endeth the  converstion, but more than that the pride I felt when we had a few altercations with the Redbourn boys and to a lesser degree the village boys , if they knew we were from the home they would think twice about any action they intended to take, it was all about keeping an eye on the younger ones.

There is just a few points why I am proud to be a part of the NCH . and to all keeping intouch take care we are all part of it wether we like it or not Cheers Ken           

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#39 [url]

Sep 21 11 1:30 PM

HI Ken!
Seems like we ought to know each other!  I was sent from Bradford (Eccleshill where I was evacuated to live with an aunt) to the Harpenden branch of the NCH in 1946, and was in Sister Cora's, Ferens, over on the girls side.  Boys and girls didn't mix much then, I know, but we surely crossed paths on the Oval, at Lords, or even the chapel although you say you weren't there as much as some of us!  Your name sounds very familiar, and I bet we know a lot of people in common.  I remember Sister Winifred--do you remember Sister Cora?  She was the one with a limp because of having to wear a special boot.
Good to see you on the forum, and look forward to hearing more of your story.
As far as the sibling bit goes, you were very lucky that you were all housed together.  My sister and I were seperated upon arrival--possibly because of a big age difference between us, but I know that was a very traumatic time for me until I got used to being with so many other children I didn't know, and all the rules and such.  But eventually I became very used to the routines, and am most thankful now for the stability of that particular part of my childhood and wish, from this distance, that I could have stayed at the Harpenden branch at least until I finished school.
Best,
Shelagh

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#40 [url]

Sep 23 11 4:19 AM

Hi Shelagh,  yes I remember Sister Cora, if my memory serves me well, when I left School I went to work in the shoe shop in the home, and I have repaired Sister Cora's/boots more than once and being the apprentice in the shop it was my job on a Monday morning to push the trolley around the oval and visit every flat and house picking up the shoes which needed repairing every week. I met all if not a great percentage of the staff, talking to them and yet that if how I know Sister Cora.  Dave Rowsell was my senior and we both worked under Mr. Marriott.   
This was the end of the era when things started to lighten up, all be it that Mr. Marriott, I might say still retained his spitful streak in him, also had a very powerful right hand when weal ding a shoe across your back side, and all because you had worn your shoes out too quick ( in his eyes) or had not put enough shoe polish on.    
We actually was allowed, at this point, to wear Denim Jeans, which was shock horror. in a period of 12 months Dave left the shoe shop, leaving Mr Marriott and I to carry on with the shop, and at this stage we got on very well, which shows that things were getting better.
This was a time that Horace Barrett was working in the bake house and we became very good friends and I would love to find out where he is, or if he is still with us. 
I found Sister Cora very pleasant as opposed to some others.  In the shoe shop the hardest person to please was Mrs. Bickerdike, her and her Husband ran Clare Lodge.
Got to go now, I am trying to dig out some old photo's of us when we were in the home, and when I do I shall post them on the site, in the meantime, take care, cheers Ken 

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