Page 9 - HGS Suburb News 136 - Autumn 2018
P. 9

Hidden Suburb – Abbeyfield House

      Nestling off Erskine Hill in the   London in the docks area. He was   Our  local  Society  was  and it was 1983 before the first   know how she gave unstintingly   Homesfield. It is our Housekeepers
      cul-de-sac called Homesfield is   known as ‘the scrubbing major’.   founded in 1977 but it was   resident moved in. The first   of her time – as in anything she   who make it a home rather than
      one of the Suburb’s best-kept   Finding so much desperate   some  time  before  suitable   Open Day was held in 1985.   committed herself to. Since her   a house.
      secrets. For the past thirty-five   loneliness amongst those he   premises could be found in the   The house has been updated   death last year Mike has retired   We have Coffee mornings
      years Abbeyfield House has   visited, he hit upon the idea of   Suburb. It turned out to be ‘St.  through the years – a lift was   from the Committee but still   twice a year – amongst other
      provided sheltered housing for   buying a house, which he would   Catherine’s’ in Homesfield –  installed, and more recently all   gives his good advice.   activities – and anyone who
      many elderly women and, more   live in but would also provide   originally two houses (‘Emma’  the rooms were altered to include   Abbeyfield UK was created   would like to visit the House or
      recently, men. Each resident   rentable rooms for a variety of   and  ‘Rosemary’  Cottages)  –  en-suite showers. There are now   to help struggling societies and   who may be looking for a place
      has their own room with their   people – with common house-  designed  by  Raymond  Unwin   eleven rooms plus a bedsitter, a   rationalise unsuitable housing   for a friend or relative can come
      own furniture and an en-suite   keeping and thus the advantages   and built by William Moss in   small flat and a guest room.  stock (some of the original housing   along to one of these or contact
      with shower. Meals are taken   of companionship. The first house   1912.  St.  Catherine’s  had  Locally there has always been   was too small to be practical) and   Abbeyfield House on 8455 2607.
      together and there are common   was purchased in Abbeyfield   originally been used to house   a Friends Committee – initially   particularly to give advice with   There is still a committee of
      rooms. This sense of communal   Road, Bermondsey, and in 1956   Poor  Law children  and  then   responsible for raising funds to   the now more complicated rules   Friends of Abbeyfield, which
      living is in keeping with the   the Society was formed and  ‘tired young servants’ where they   help purchase the house and make   and regulations surrounding   helps to arrange outings for the
      core values of the founder of   named after it. By this time   could go between one situation   it suitable. It was necessarily   sheltered housing and nursing   residents and supports both the
      the Abbeyfield Society, Richard   Carr-Gomm had been joined by   and another – though they were   rather more active in the early   home  care.  Our  local  Society   staff and the residents.
      Carr-Gomm.                 his friend Christopher  Buxton,  not considered too tired to work   years when Abbeyfield House   decided to come under the   ANTHEA DAVIDSON
         Carr-Gomm was a regular   who had banking connections.  when a money-earning laundry   was independent of the main   umbrella of Abbeyfield UK –now
      Guards officer – he had been   The Society was able to buy a   was added to the building at   Society in St. Albans. In recent   run from its head office at St.
      amongst  the  first  troops  into   second house, became a more   the  back. Thereafter it was used   years Mike and Norma Milner of   Albans. We answer to St. Albans
      the Belsen camp – who came   professional venture, and there-  by  the Church of England’s   North Square worked tirelessly   and benefit from specialist staff
      from a family with a history of   after grew rapidly. Often local   Children’s Society (at that time   for the House – Mike indeed   and  regional house managers
      charitable work. Dissatisfied with   church and Rotary groups took   bluntly named The Waifs and   became Chairman of the Regional   who support our housekeepers.
      peace-time soldiering he made   up the idea and used the   Strays Society). When they left,  Council and Trustee of the Greater   One of the great strengths
      the dramatic decision to become   experience and name provided   finally we had Abbeyfield House.  London Abbeyfield Society. All   of the House is our staff. There
      a home help in the south east of   by the Society.    It took  some time to renovate   those who knew Norma will   is a rota of housekeepers – Lin
                                                                                                                 Kenny, Laura Morgan, Chichi
                                                                                                                 Habiba, Thelma Robinson, and
                                                                                                                 Elaine Kenny, the general assistant.
                                                                                                                 This year Lin celebrates thirty
                                                                                                                 years with Abbeyfield and   (Above) Lin Kenny, housekeeper of thirty
                                                                                                                 sixteen of those have been at   years, and (below) residents enjoying
                                                                                                                                            the late summer sun

                                       Letters to the editor

      NW11                       Aviva buses kept breaking down   with walking problems or carrying   than leaving it under the plants
      About the new H2           and the new Metro buses were not   heavy  bags,  I  fear  this  will  be  a   where we’d placed it. I replaced the
      Dear Sir,                  ready, so they ran irregularly. Since   difficult procedure.  water yesterday.
      As I have not noticed any e-mails   September however, the new buses   I wonder if the designers realised   About a month ago, or perhaps
      on the HGS List, our e-mail forum,  have taken over completely and they   that many of the passengers are   more, a neighbour found a hedgehog
      about  the  new  H2 buses  which   are keeping more or less to time.  elderly and may have difficulty in   on the pavement on our street during
      Metroline fully took over from   Howecver,  I  should  like  to   reaching these other seats. The six   the day. She asked my advice about
      Aviva in September, I wonder what   complain about the design of the   seats on the first level fill up first   moving it and I suggested she
      proportion of residents use them   buses, which provides seats on two   so elderly passengers will have to   didn’t, hoping that it would move
      and what they think about them? I   levels. Having climbed up a step to   rely on others giving up their seats,  under a hedge when it was quiet (I
      am a frequent bus passenger and   get on the bus, where there are   which they often do.  didn’t want it to be traumatised).
      my road is on its route.   only six seats, one is then faced                    As far as I know, it found its way
         During the summer the service   with a further double step to get to   Yours,   to safety.
      was very poor as some of the old   the other 13 seats. For anyone   Mrs W. Stick   We have had hedgehogs in our
                                                            (nom de plume – name & address   garden previously – we only know
                                                            withheld)                 they are there when our dog starts
                  MATHS TUITION                                                        a commotion, and in fact we don’t

         PRIVATE COACHING IN HAMPSTEAD GARDEN SUBURB        NW11                      usually let him into the garden at
                                                                                      night, so it is likely they are there
                                                            More about Hedgehogs      regularly, undetected.
                  ✩ Common Entrance and 11+ ✩               Dear Sir,                    We live in Greenhalgh Walk, so
                 ✩ A level, Further Maths or GCSE ✩         I just read with interest your hedgehog   quite a distance from the Heath – I
                                                            article (SN135, p3) which has just   don’t think they’re crossing the A1!
            ✩ STEP and Oxbridge interview preparation ✩     arrived – I understand ZSL want
                                                            information about sightings for  Yours
         Highly experienced former Head of Maths with B.Sc. Maths,   their Heath survey. Two nights ago   Dani Solomon
        1st Class hons. degree from top UK university and experience   we found a hedgehog in our garden
         in writing 11+ materials.                          (or rather our dog did, but he was   (Dani has told us hedgehogs
                                                            quickly put into the house!). We
            One-to-one  supportive  and  challenging  sessions  that   googled about feeding them, and   continued to visit over the
         will really help you to get those A*s, grade 9s, top university,   took the advice to put out a little   summer and so perhaps are
         Independent or selective school places.            wet dog food and some water,  less rare than most people
                                                            which  had  been  taken  by  the   think. I live not far away in
                    Contact: 07811 254061                   morning. We think not by a fox,  Brim Hill and never see any in
                                                            who would probably have picked   my garden. Perhaps I need to
                                                            up the container we left, rather   get a dog! Ed)
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