Rachel Hawker

Ramsdale School (later Abbey House Nursing Home)

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Does anyone know anything at all about the old Ramsdale 'Special' School that could be seen high up on the hill (seen from the Ollerton Rd) behind Ramsdale Golf Club? It was off the top of George's Hill & had a green dome on the top but was demolished about 10 years ago & turned into Calverton Hill Residential Care Centre. I know a bit about the later use of the building in the 50's-70's, as a school for the handicapped/ special needs etc, & it was previously used in the war as a temporary home for evacuees but I am particularly interested in the building of the house (for one of the Seelys I think) around 1900.

I have trawled the internet but found only one picture taken when it was derelict in the 90's - any pictures, stories or anyone that can point me in the right direction for more info?

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http://www.cfs.notts.sch.uk/index.php/our-school/history

Hi Rachel not sure if this is of any use. i remember as a youngster getting permission to scan the footpaths surrounding the old building with my metal detector during the mid 1970's. My uncle and elder brother were with me at the time and we were warned that tthe area had been used as an army training centre during and after the war and there was a chance that discharged ammunition may be found in the areas we were searching.. Amongst 303 rifle rounds my brother found a grenade which fortunately turned out to have been drilled out and made safe and was used for training purposes. My brother also has further details on the building with the green copper domed roof to which you refer I will try and post these over the weekend.

fch782c

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mainly special education needs went there thats the place they talked about me going too when i was at junior school my friend christines sister linda went there she had some learning difficulties but now lives in a supported house in arnold.lovely big house and gardens but we never got to see much of it when chriatine and i would go to take her home during school holidays. but thats all i know about it sorry.

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Thanks fch782c, Piggy & Babs - that's really interesting. I was fascinated with the building as a child, I thought a Princess lived there ! fch782c if you get any more info or images from your brother please do post them as I would love to hear more. Does anyone know if Seely lived there when it was build, before it was used for evacuees? I have read a thread from about 1850 when Seely wanted to build a family house high on the hill behind Ramsdale Farm (near the golf club) so I assume this was that house he discussed in the mid 19th century. Thanks again everyone this is really interesting.

If you go to the following site: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/33643 there is an image of Abbey House before demolition, the green some has been removed from the top though.

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This immage was posted here earlier, as a quiz question?

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Ooh not sure m ick, I found the image on the Geograph website, it was one of 2 images, quite an interesting site but very little information really. I tried emailing the guy whose name was credited but he never got back....charming !!!

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Hello Rachel

I'm very interested in this house too! I visited in 1987 with my father (a retired plasterer) as he'd been employed to work on the building during its conversion from a special school into a private nursing home. I still have the architect's plan of the ground floor, which he gave to me. I took photos of the exterior and interior but unfortunately my (film) camera jammed and the only photos that could be developed were the ones showing the exterior. I still get annoyed thinking about this as the interior was really interesting, and I struggle to remember the details now. I do recall a very large room with wooden panelling, and I think the staircase was quite nice, with very shallow treads, and from the upstairs landing you could look down into a small courtyard. I don't think the lights were working as it was very dark inside - in fact I almost fell down an open lift shaft which had just been put in by the builders. The bedrooms all showed signs of having been occupied by the children who lived at the school. The walls were still covered with posters and stickers and it was really rather sad. The house did eventually open as a nursing home and was renamed Abbey House. For many years after my first visit I thought about going back but never got round to it. Then I found out it had been demolished and I was really annoyed with myself for being so lazy!

As for its history - you should have a look at this PhD thesis which mentions Ramsdale Park in some detail

http://etheses.nottingham.ac.uk/259/

Click on 'pdf'. Use the find option to search for Ramsdale - it's mentioned several times. If it helps, I think it's mentioned on pages 290-295, 311 and 313-317.

As you'll find out, Ramsdale Park was built by Charles Seely for one of his sons. The author of the thesis refers to the original architect's designs for the house which are held at Nottinghamshire Archives. I've seen them and they show a very different house to the one built, with 4 domes instead of one (I think Charles Seely ran into financial difficulties so had to scale things back). it's a shame he had to abandon the original design because it was very attractive and I think the house he ended up with was rather dull.

When my dad worked on the house, no-one had access to the dome because it housed some kind of equipment, possibly to do with communications. I'll have to ask him if he can remember who was using it and for what purpose.

I'm sorry, I've rambled on. I can send you scans of my photos of the exterior if you like, and a copy of the floor plan, if you let me have your email address.

Best wishes

Jayne

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Welcome to Nottstalgia Greyhoundgirl. As well as sending scans of your photos to Rachel, would you be able to post them here as well so that we can all look at them. There are quite a few people who would be interested.

And to make sure Rachel gets your message (in case she doesn't check what's happening here) you could use the PM facility.

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Hi Cliff

Thanks for the welcome. I tried to PM Rachel but I can't. When I try to, I get a strange message which reads 'The page at http://nottstalgia.com says:'.

There's an 'OK' button below but when I click it, the message box closes and nothing happens. Do you know what the problem could be?

In the meantime, I wonder if you could please PM Rachel to let her know there's a reply to her post on the web site?

And yes, I'll post my photos (just have to scan them first).

Cheers,

Jayne

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Welcome to Nottstalgia, Greyhoundgirl. I look forward to reading your posts and sharing your memories. Don't apologize for 'rambling on'. When the posts are as good as yours the Nottstalgians don't want you to stop...lol.

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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!

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Hi Jo

That's fascinating. I'm sorry the house felt gloomy, even when occupied.

Do you know what was inside the green dome?

Did you see the demolition? I don't suppose you which company did the job?

And do you have any photos of the house (especially the interior)?

When I visited I looked round the empty school building. Unlike the house, it was still full of furniture (tables and tiny chairs).

Jayne

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Just caught up with this. Boy this has it turned into an interesting topic.

Welcome new members here, and thanks for your input. :)

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yes i do cause i went to ramdale school  from 1976 to the day it close it doors back in 1980. i loved it there. i have been looking for my old friends. my name back then was heather burke

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One day i decided as part of my healing process to search for information..on ramsdale park school. I couldnt believe the lack of information it seemed like it had been shoved into the recesses of everyones mind ..how can this place and time spent there by young girls be forgotten.this is my account of that time through my eyes as a young child to best of my knowledge ..they say nothing that enters the internet can truly be forgotten so then it stands as a public record. I will continue if ..thats ok with you all ..i warn you ill be candid.! 

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Ive spent my whole life trying to forget this place and time in my life ..ive only just begun to forgive my mum .im happy heather to heqr you were happy ..that helps actually ..maybe i was so angry at my parents who knows ..i spent alot of time with ms alton.who delighted in putting me under the oak table outside the dining room...my crime running up the beutifly oak and red carpet  stairs ..jyst adjacent to the dining room.. She seemed to be conected to nuns..i cant quite remember ..but she had awful boney fingers.  When she grabbed me ...sat under the table. Most of the night .

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A lot of girls shouldnt have been there ..but it gave you a break from abuse you were suffering in your life ..in my case sexual abuse by my uncle which my parents never belueved ..i cant forgive the sytem the fact they totally missed it and to find recently ..that maggie thatcher had her life commemorated at the now golf club is an insult to alot of kuds that were let down by the gov erment and council and social services ..because of that failing ..lots of abusers have walked.i know the house mothers did the best with the recources they had .the problem is higher up ..and its no wonder ..there is no records of this time ..what a surprise .?.lets hope for a better future for all children in abusive situations and hopefully people might listen. 

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Dear me, I feel extremely fortunate that I had a very loving home, an occasional smack on my thigh for being cheeky, followed by a big hug and a ‘Sorry’ from Dad as he realised straight away he shouldn’t have done it.  At school I was never subjected to any sort of abuse. The worst that ever happened to me was a couple of detentions for ridiculous stupidness, oh and on one occasion I was accused of ‘grinning like a moron’ ..... couldn’t stand that teacher in any case but odd that I remember him saying that in front of the class, embarrassing me.   It was a fantastic school with mostly good old-fashioned teachers, many of whom had served in the Forces during WWII, they brought with them good values and respect which I hope rubbed off on us Post-War kids.  

I must have had a very sheltered life as I was never aware that such abuse happened anywhere.

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1 hour ago, Im not my past said:

A lot of girls shouldnt have been there ..but it gave you a break from abuse you were suffering in your life ..in my case sexual abuse by my uncle which my parents never belueved ..i cant forgive the sytem the fact they totally missed it and to find recently ..that maggie thatcher had her life commemorated at the now golf club is an insult to alot of kuds that were let down by the gov erment and council and social services ..because of that failing ..lots of abusers have walked.i know the house mothers did the best with the recources they had .the problem is higher up ..and its no wonder ..there is no records of this time ..what a surprise .?.lets hope for a better future for all children in abusive situations and hopefully people might listen. 

 

You are right, in that 'we are not our past' but our lives are inevitably shaped in some way by our childhood experiences, for better or worse.  I feel so sad that you had to go through such abuse but pleased that you are feeling able to share  on here.  I really hope this will help you in your healing process.  Please keep posting x

 

 

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My sister, in her early 20s, worked at Grove House, a large Victorian villa on the corner of Derby Grove and Ilkeston Road. It was a children's home and she had convinced herself she wanted to be a social worker. In those days, you weren't required to have any qualifications but I remember her going on some training courses.

 

My sister has always loved children and, coming from a close, loving family, she found it impossible to deal with the cruelty her charges experienced. One child was covered in burns where his mother and her boyfriend had stubbed out their cigarettes on his body. 

 

Being as soft as grease and totally out of her depth, my sister soon found that she couldn't cope with the place. She was also horrified to find that senior members of staff were hitting the children and embezzling funds, for which she duly reported them.

 

Homes such as these were closed down and children were cared for by foster parents in more suitable family settings.

 

The house is still standing. I would suppose it's now student accommodation. It must have seen a lot of misery.

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Thankyou ..its important..that these for me at anycase) not be forgotten ..for the sake of children... And social history ..only by not sweeping it under the carpet can we learn.. I realise heather your experience was happy ..mine however was not ..i realise also ms alton acted as thought  she was correct ..i realise the house mothers were understaffed .. I craved my mother as i wrote it took me years to forgive. Her and my father ..and the sytem ..however to my mothers defence...she also was bought up in full care ...if only someone had taken time to break the cycle .. Thankfully with my own i have . as yiu can imagine just to find ...it not documented is a great injustice to theses girls from under privalage back grounds .. And shear abused backgrounds. But only on the pain of of broken backs and hearts ...can we ensure ...all our vulnerable are loved and cared for .god bless all of u..for excepting this from a girl who thought no one would .hear ty x

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