Recollections of Staunton Harold, some good some not so good. We quite often hear from people whose relatives were cared for here in the Sue Ryder hospice days,from about 1980 to 2002. Before that from people who worked here in the Cheshire Home days, 1955 to 1978. It is mostly only elderly locals like myself who can recall the place in its semi derelict state after the Second World War So the encounter of Monday, 25th October came as quite a surprise.
Our foreman Sean and myself set off in the works van to an address in North Nottinghamshire, where we had bought a mortising machine on e-bay. Parked up in the farmyard the seller was helping us load up when a lady came out who I took to be his wife. She had seen the name on the van and told us she had spent time at Staunton many years ago. Many year turned out to be 1943 or 1944 when she had lodged for a week in what was then the stables, now the Ferrers Centre. She was one of a dozen members of the Girls Training Corps, a junior section of the WRENS. They were sixteen or seventeen years old and were there at the same time as a group of Italian prisoners, who she remembers singing operatic songs, something they hadn’t heard before. We must assume they were well chaperoned!
That makes her a very spritely ninety two year old, but she is not our oldest informant, Now in a nursing hole in Bournemouth is a lady of one hundred and two who, as a young teenager started work in London as a nursery nurse for the three grandchildren of the eleventh Earl Ferrers. When the earl died in 1937 she came to live at Staunton Hall, and was here until shortly before the war started in ’39. Jacqueline and I have been to meet her in Bournemouth and heard her stories. In all the time she was here she never saw the grand rooms where the family lived. Not so much ‘below stairs’ as behind baize doors.