Once evacuated where would you go? To the surprise of many children, they found themselves living and attending school in some of Britain's most historic houses. One such school was St. Hilary's School for Girls, the girls spent five years at Thirlestane castle in Lauder after being evacuated from Edinburgh. The girls lived in the main part of the castle while the Earl and Countess of Lauderdale lived in a wing of their great house. During their time at Thirlestane, there were many ups and downs for the children and school staff. During their early days at Thirlestane, the girls bathed in the River Leader behind the castle while plumbing issue where being sorted out. Then there was the day one of the Maitland portraits which hung in the dining room fell and landed on one of the staff members heads!
This book tells the story of the girls of St. Hilary's and the five years they spent at Thirlestane and of the Maitland family who owned the estate. Thirlestane is open to the public today, however, most visitors are unaware of its wartime past. The stories in this book are not just based on cold historical records but also on the memories of the people who called this historic estate home during the dark days of the war.
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.15(d)|
About the Author
I first became interested in country houses during the war years after reading John Martin Robinson's "The Country House at War". It left me wanting to know more, but, as I soon discovered, there was not as much published information as I had hoped for. To me, the war years are an important part of the history of country houses throughout Britain, but this critical period is largely overlooked in guidebooks and published histories of country houses.
During the war years, country houses across the country found themselves playing a new role in the history of the nation. Some homes were used by the military as billets for troops, store houses for the nation's art treasures, government departments, homes for evacuees and schools. If possible many owners tried to find a school to take over their historic family homes. It was felt school children would be safer tenants for centuries old family homes and their contents.
During my research on evacuated school's, I got to know many men and woman who were evacuated to different country houses with their school's during the war. It has been fascinating listening to their memories of the war years and an honor to talk to them.
By writing this series of books on schools that were evacuated to a country house and recording the memories of former evacuees, I hope to preserve this important part of the history of so many country houses across Great Britain. As 2016, marks 71 years since the end of the Second World War it becomes even more paramount that we work to record the memories of people who lived through the dark days of the war for future generations before they are lost forever.
I hope this series of books will be able to give people a chance to better understand this important chapter in the history of British country houses and to help teach school children about what life was like during the war for evacuees.