I went to Old Bramhope in 1934 at the age of one, and was there until 1948, when my father retired as Governor. I was at the school on site until 1943, and was in the Cubs and Scouts. I'm still in touch with a number of old boys and girls, and for a while with former members of staff, but of these there is only Yvonne Warburton left since Nancie Longbottom died a couple of years ago, well into her ninties. I've been producing a newsletter for the forty or so survivors who I've contacted (though this year's will be the last as I hit 80 next year), who include several who have emigrated, mainly to Australia. I've also produced some notes on life at the Home (my Dad would never allow anyone to call it "The Orphanage" which was part of its title) which have gone the rounds and reached as far as Australia and the USA. I've gathered brief life stories of a number of the old boys and girls, some of whom have built impressive careers after a difficult start, and all of them speak well of their time on the top of that windy hill!
I started to write the notes at a time when it looked as though the redundant Children's Home buildings would be demolished, and nobody seemed to know anything about the Home and its work. Fortunately the Leeds planners intervened, and about half of the buildings were "listed" and restored very sympathetically, so any visitor would recognise their old haunts. The Hilton Grange development by Redrow is now a very handsome estate, but the star buildings are the original old houses.
The Avro building is still there, as an industrial estate, Leeds/Bradford airport is a few hundred yards down the road, and was RAF Yeadon during the war. We were bombed in 1940, and thought that they were after the AVRO, but they never knew it was there, thanks to the clever camouflage and the efforts of the volunteers who moved the artificial cows around the artificial fields every evening after dark!
"Green Tiles" stayed the same until very recently, when the vivid green pantiles were replaced with boring red ones.
At its peak, the Old Bramhope branch cared for 250 children at a time, 150 boys and 100 girls, 25 to a house. No walls and fences, just views over Wharfedale.
Sadly, Francis, I can't remember you (one tends to remember the children older than yourself), but I suspect that I may be in touch with some that you know. My telephone number is 0113 2619609.
A memory shared byon Oct 19th, 2012.
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