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Stowfield House, Lydbrook, Gloucestershire.

Stowfield Boys

Stowfield House Boys

Back: Micheal Pope, 2 ?, Robert Peacey, Malcolm Allen
Left: Brian Peacey, Des Brown.

Thanks also to Des Brown.

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Above: The report in the Gloucestershire Echo of 10 September 1945.

Wendy wrote (April 2008): "I recently came across this photo from my past of a group of boys who lived at Stowfield House in the early 1950s. As I thought about it, I realised that I knew nothing about their situation. Was it an orphanage? Were the boys refugees? Had they lost their parents during the war? How many boys lived there? I can remember a lot of them coming to Lydbrook church every Sunday evening with Mr. and Mrs. Steickz who were the Matron and the Director. I would be interested to learn something more about those boys I knew more than 50 years ago".

Margaret Wilce added (April 2008): "The boys were evacuees mainly from London, they went to Joys Green and Lydbrook Schools, at least two were adopted by local families".

Ann Butcher added (June 2008): "Sometime between 1935 and the 1950's Stowfield House was a boy's home. Not exactly an orphanage but I'm not sure what. My brother Donald Wall was a resident there for some years during the war.He always seemed to have very fond memories of his time there. Unfortunately he died in 1964 when I was little so I can't add any more".

D. Keith Wilks added (May 2009): "Senior boys from Stowfield Home attended Berry Hill Secondary School. Some are mentioned in my book 'Teacher in the Forest' - John Hardwell and perhaps Stan Wall, Peter Procter. Others I cannot remember".
(Keith's book will be of interest to all former pupils of Berry Hill Secondary School and was printed in Lydney in 2007. Copies are still available from local bookshops).

Roy Taylor added (September 2009): "I was at Stowfield House from 1949 to 1953. It was an orphanage for boys".

Desmond Brown added (July 2011): "... I was at Stowfield House in 1946 until 1953. Only 6 of us were last to leave at the time after the war there were boys coming and going some were going back home. We were well treated by all the staff that looked after us. Many of us did n't know we had a family as I did n't know 'till later. Some did well in life like Steven Fry who ended up as a Lt Commander in the Royal Navy. I enjoyed my young days at Stowfield. God bless to all the boys that were there."

Stan Wall added (August 2012) "... Stan Wall knows Peter proctor and the boys. "

Malcolm Allan added (November 2013)"... I came across this web page following a visit to Lydbrook during which I chatted to a very pleasant retired Gentleman living in a house beside the steps leading upwards to what was once the Viaduct. He has in his back garden the foundations remains of one of the viaducts supporting pillars. I am now 75 years of age, and remember well my first night at Stowfield House Boys Home (Its correct name) arriving late evening in 1947 from a children's home in Wotton-under-Edge and given a supper of a cheese sandwich which caused me to be sick; I have not touched cheese since. The Home was managed by a Mr Arther Sterkx and his wife Betty Sterkx always called Master and Matron, I'm pleased to say all staff were generous with their time in providing and supporting boys in their care ablely supported by a Mr Bolton and his Polish wife (maybe-Ursula). Mr Bolton taught us how to play Table Tennis, he unfortunately had a slight curvature of the spine, but played using a pen-holders grip. I myself, gave up playing in 1995. During my stay at Stowfield the number of Boys rose to approx. 50 but due to running costs and a change in Child Care -no doubt- dwindled to in 1953 6 boys. These 6 boys moved to a Georgian house in Blakeney. It had a Palm Tree growing in the front garden. I remember well having to scrub the wooden floors in the bedrooms. I myself was returned to my Mother in Barnet Hertfordshire who had remarried to a Scottish man who liked to drink. It was not a good move for me but its water under the bridge. More information about events during my time at Stowfield is available to anyone interested and I can be contacted on tomalcolmandbrendaAThotmailDOTcom Looking forward to hearing from you Best regards Malcolm".

Malcolm further added: (December 2013): "... I would like to mention that the photo of Stowfield boys camping was taken at Fairfield Manor, Botley, Hampshire, now a golf club venue. I'm not sure of the year but may be 1950. I remember it being some sort of an International week. There was a party of Germans also camping there, one of which with, a surname of Hoffman, became my pen-pal. He sent me a Christmas present of a big boxed Mechano set, also some bars of chocolate all of which were broken into bits by I suspect Customs and Ex. During this camping holiday we met H.R.H. Prince Phillp who moored his sailing boat called KIWI nearby. I believe Des Brown had a Newspaper cutting of him shaking our hands. I later saw him in Hong Kong attending a Football match. This is all for now, except that wallowing in the past can leave you happier about the future (Nick McDermontt, Daily Mail Sci. Reporter)......Any comments welcomed".

Kevin Peacey added (April 2014): "... the two boys in photo at Stowfield House - Robert and Brian Peacey are of my father and my uncle. My father is Robert who recently passed away 10/12/2013 and my uncle Brian passed away possibly 10-15 years ago, none of them were refugees or evacuees they where sent there because it was a children's home. They were both from Cheltenham ..."

Alan Woodhouse added (July 2017): "... My mother is Joan Sterckx my grandfather was Arthur Sterckx. My grandmother was Dorothy Sterckx not Betty. Joan, my mother is alive and well and 95 years old".

Roger Walding added (January 2018): "... My grandmother Fanny Seath,( she died in 1970 ) used to go to Stowfield House when it was a Boys Home to mend the clothes including darning the socks. She worked in a room on the left just inside the front door. I went to Lydbrook School with a girl ( Joysell ) who lived at the House because her father, Mr Lloyd was one of the teachers. There used to be wonderfull Christmas parties at the House and we went to Cheltenham to see a Pantomime ( where we learned to say the alphabet backwards )

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