Evacuees at Drake Hall, near Eccleshall

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Description:Page 47 of 'Drake Hall - A War-Time Hostel', a souvenir book produced for staff and residents at the Swynnerton Royal Ordinance Factory hostel at Drake Hall, produced in 1945.

An article on evacuees at Drake Hall, a group of old age pensioners evacuated from Liverpool. The text reads:

"Drake Hall adds to its already large family.

During the course of its career Drake Hall has been called upon to cater for diverse classes of people and have included typists, clerks, labour officers, factory operatives, Irish labourers, factory foremen, to mention but a few, and the latest addition to our family has been 132 evacuees, aged men and women who have been in the thick of the bombing for the last four years. Some of them had their homes damaged, some have lost not only their homes but all their belongings as well, and others have been injured by the bombs and they have now come to the quiet countryside for the rest they so well deserve. All of them are well advanced in years and are without exception old age pensioners (it takes four people four and a half hours every Friday to pay them their pensions; this is all part of the Hostel service).

One of the outstanding personalities of the party is Henry Reeve, who was born in February 1855, which makes him ninety years of age on his next birthday, and who has many interesting stories to tell of life in the olden days. Henry was a wholesale confectioner and made enough money to retire in 1915, but, unfortunately, was a victim of the failure of Farrow's Bank, in which he lost all his money. He was also with the Workers' Education Association for a number of years. He settled down in Croydon about 1917, where he is a very well-known figure.

The girl residents of Drake Hall took the old folks to their hearts at once and, with their customary kindness, soon set to work to see what could be done for them. Within a couple of days a benevolent fund was inaugurated by which the girls collect amongst themselves between £6 and £7 every week to provide their aged guests with newspapers, periodicals, cinema tickets, tea, buns, etc. All the evacuees have expressed to the writer their appreciation of the overwhelming kindness they have received from the staff and residents of Drake Hall, and that their sincere thanks for this be recorded on this page. Miss Dorothy Wood, Ministry of Health, is the Welfare Officer for the party, who, in conjunction with the Hostel Welfare Officer, sees to the well-being of them all."

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Image courtesy of: Mr Phillip Leason

Donor ref:(55/35377)

Source: Miscellaneous Collection

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