The Manor House is a 19th Century sandstone building, designed by Decimus Burton (who, among many other things, also designed Hyde Park) for the family of the English artist, Hercules Brabazon Brabazon.
In 1959 the Manor House catered for all aspects of the Village’s operation, with the exception (initially) of the boys’ bedrooms. To young children it was an immense building and its sandstone walls were imposing.
The ground floor contained the greatest range of activities. The western end housed the dining rooms and kitchen. On the northern side was a large library which, for a while doubled as the Warden’s office. To encourage a degree of quiet and self-control among the children, the Warden posted a sign on the door: “Festina Lente”.
None of the children could read Latin but they were curious to discover what it meant. Being exhorted to “hasten slowly” is something that several of the former children still remember – although it probably didn’t have the desired effect at the time! To the side of the library was an activity room (which was later used as the children’s common room).
Visitors were greeted at the Reception in the eastern half of the Manor House, behind the vestibule. Beyond this, and looking out onto the rose garden was Dr Alexander’s office. In 1960/61 a prefabricated office block was build behind the eastern wall of the car park to house the Village’s administration, including fund-raising.
The upstairs was given over to accommodation. Eric and his family resided in rooms at the western end and Dr Alexander and his wife lived at the eastern end. The rooms in between accommodated the other care staff and the girls, when they began to arrive at the end of 1959. Later, both boys and girls shared the upstairs area.
The attic was also used for staff or children’s rooms at different times.
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