I worked at Ramsdale park school as a House mother from 1979 -80, & I am currently living in temporary rented accommodation, which is on the outskirts of the old school grounds. I walk my dogs everyday around the old site & it has triggered many memories.
There were 3 housemothers & the children were divided between us & our senior & 1 housemother lived in. We worked split shifts from 7 am in the morning, until they went to school, we then went home & returned from 3-9pm. We had to enter through what would have been the tradesman's entrance to the far right of the building , next to the kitchen. This was very much a classic large country house kitchen. there was a rear staircase & the children resided on the 1st & second floor. They shared large dormitories with metal framed beds & there were at least 6- 8 children in each room. The bathrooms were large & communal , with baths divided by partition walls. It felt extremely Victorian in style. Each floor consisted of long corridors & had a very institutionalised feel to it. My role was to get them up, washed & dressed in a morning. After which we took them down to breakfast in the large panelled dining room, which was on the far left of the building, it was a bright room & housed a big fireplace. We then walked them to the purpose built school annexe ( built 60's/70's) They ranged in age from 5 - 12 years old. The children resided Monday to Friday only, going home for the weekends. Upon their return ,Monday morning always began with having to de-louse the children. Probably only 20% had true special needs, quite a few came from neglected backgrounds, suffering physical & sexual abuse & some had just slipped through the educational net & had got behind. The main inner hall was rather lovely & had panelled oak walls & banisters, with a wide staircase. In bad weather the staff got snowed in & had to sleep in the green domed towers. These were large round rooms , dark & rather eerie to sleep in. The paths & woods surrounding it today have changed very little , but are certainly more overgrown. The headmistress lived in a newly built bungalow at the top of the drive, in front of the main house.. Inside the majority of the house always felt dark & oppressive. It must have been a frightening place for the children!