26th Oct, 2016

Boys relive childhood at Croome reunion

Rob George 14th Aug, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A REUNION to celebrate the time a National Trust mansion house was a boys’ school from the 1950s to the 1970s has taken place near Pershore.

Croome Court hosted the fifth annual gathering of more than 60 former pupils of St Joseph’s School for disadvantaged boys.

In 1948 Croome Court was bought by the Archdiocese of Birmingham Catholic Church to be run as St Joseph’s School for disadvantaged boys.

For more than 30 years, the school housed up to 150 boys at a time who lived with and were taught by the resident nuns in Croome Court, the Red Wing and the stables.

The boys who came to Croome were 10 years old and had a broad range of disadvantages.

Some had suffered neglect in the family home, had learning difficulties, disruptive behaviour or illness.

At 13 years old they usually moved to Besford Court, another local mansion run as a school for boys.

The boys’ school reunions are hosted for the ex-pupils who attended the school between 1948 and 1978.

Former pupils re-visit the buildings, share memories and relive experiences with fellow ex-pupils and the events are an opportunity for them to show their families where they spent part of their childhood.

“I was chuffed to bits with the event as numbers have gone up by 20 per cent from last year,” said Vincent Conlan who was taught at St Joseph’s School in 1967.

“The reunion was a chance for the boys to visit their old school, meet each other and exchange experiences and memories” said Alice Padley, Croome’s Finance Co-ordinator who organised the reunion.

“The event gets bigger and better each year and the staff and volunteers are honoured to be included in the day and learn more about the history of the school’s era.

And the sensitive and fascinating journey of the boys’ childhood will continue with ex-pupils sharing their stories with visitors at a Hidden Heritage event on September 12 and 13, part of Croome’s free entry Heritage Open Day event.

Call 01905 370005 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome for more information on Croome.