At the outbreak of war in 1939 Shardeloes, the family home of the Tyrwhitt-Drakes, was requisitioned as a maternity hospital to provide mothers, mainly from the south and east of London, a safe place to deliver their babies away from the danger of bombing raids. Over 5,000 babies were born there up until its closure in 1948.

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Shardeloes Babies
A postcard featuring Shardeloes Mansion, Amersham in use as a maternity hospital

 

Michael Danks

Born November 1943.  After the war we lived in a prefab in West Kensington and then a council flat in Fulham. My parents, brother and sister emigrated to Australia in 1970.

 

Olive Davis (née Blake)

Born January 1946.  “My father was a USA Army Sergeant, Truman Doss. Found my family via genealogy and wrote a journal on my visit to Kentucky to meet my siblings. There is also reference to my Mum and her life as well as my father. ”  Click here to learn more.  Now living in Spain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patricia Davison (née Allen)

Born July 1946. Father was a regular soldier (Military Police) and met her mother at Bulford Barracks. They lived in Grimsdells Lane, Amersham, later on the Quill Hall Estate. Her mother worked at Goya’s.

 

Anthony Daykin Oldershaw

Born April 1945, parents Graham William Daykin and Ethel Irene Oldershaw (ne Cook). Father was Army officer. Mother lived with parents at Sunbury, 16 Downage, Hendon, London. Now living in North Yorkshire.

 

Dorothy Florence Deadman (née Langwith)

Born July 1940 to parents Charles and Sarah Langwith of Hackney, London. I have been to Shardeloes on two occasions and met the gardener I found the visit most beneficial to me. Now living in Hackney.

 

Vivienne Dearlove (née Eldridge)

Vivienne in 1945
Vivienne in 1945
Vivienne with her mother in 1946
Vivienne with her mother in 1946

Born April 1945.  “We emigrated to South Africa in 1952 and I have been unable to return to the UK to visit the place of my birth. Just a walk down memory lane.”

“My father who was in the Air Force met my mother in South Africa. When they returned to England they married and I was conceived. My mother being a fiery red head was very unhappy with the attention that she was receiving during her pregnancy – they were stationed in London at the time. She proceeded to write to Sir Winston Churchill letting him know how upset she was that in her delicate state she was not being taken care of properly. This would have been in late 1944. My father being a Sergeant in the Air Force was mortified that she had done this. A short while after sending her letter, a Rolls Royce pulled up outside our cottage. It was the secretary to Sir Winston who had been tasked to see that this visitor from South Africa was taken care of properly. Every two weeks until my birth the Rolls Royce would arrive and take my mother and I for her check-ups and eventually to Shardeloes for my birth. On one occasion after being picked up by the chauffeur our cottage was bombed. My father did not know that my mother had gone for her check-up so at first thought that we had been killed in the bomb blast. Thanks to Sir Winston and his Rolls Royce, we both survived, and today I am able to share this story with my grandchildren.”

 

Pete De’Ath

Pete De’Ath Pete with his mum Rose. 2nd picture taken in Henley on Thames in June 1995.

Born May 1945.  His family resided in Stepney.  He moved to America in 1958 and he visited the U.K. often.  He died in January 1996.

 

 

 

Louis DeSarno

ah007ah006Born March 1946, now living in New Jersey.  “When the nurse presented me to my mother after I was born at Shardeloes she said ‘Here’s your little Tookie’, a name that has stuck with me all my life for family and friends. I have visited Shardeloes four times over the years and was given a tour by a resident and groundskeeper. My mother talked and described her experience there but it took me over 60 years to experience it first hand.”

The photos are of Ann DeSarno with Louis “Tookie” DeSarno in 1946 at a park in Hendon, London, after leaving Shardeloes to live with his Aunt May and Uncle Charlie. The other photo was taken 70 years later at Shardeloes in April 2016.

 

Maureen Vivian Dinnage (née Rackham) 

Born February 1947. “Parents lived in London. They were subsequently moved out to South Oxhey. It was a very snowy winter in Feb 1947 and I think they were snowed in at  Shardeloes.”

 

Barry Dover

Born February 1946. “Dad was a coalman in Aylesbury.”

 

Jill Draycott

Born June 1942. “Mother was unmarried and from North London, and sent out of London for my birth. I was adopted at three weeks.”

 

Janet Margaret Dunford

Born in May 1943 to mother Lily May Clare Dunford. née Warnes. My birth certificate shows that I was adopted by my mothers husband in 1948 . I am a historian researching on how children born in the late forties of mainly American and Canadian fathers were affected by the circumstance of their birth I have already completed research here in Germany on children fathered by Russian soldiers in 1945.  I live in Potsdam just outside Berlin.This was originally East Germany I moved here with my husband (German) and our children from Bielefeld in West Germany in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

 

Paul Dunsdon

Born March 1945

 

Maureen Durst (née Hughes)

Born December 1940 in a room with paintings on the ceiling  to parents Elizabeth Joan and Albert Hughes of Eltham. Now living in Port Lambton, Ontario, Canada

 

John Easden

Born June 1945

 

Christopher Ebsworth

image007Born November 1947.  (Here is a copy of his birth certificate.)

 

Jill Ede (née Brinsden)

Born May 1943.

 

Lorraine Elliott

Born February 1947.  “I was told at one point that my father was in the Metropolitan Police Force and stationed in Amersham.  My mother talked of walking into town with other ladies from Shardeloes.”

 

Maureen Elliott 

Born September 1943. “Dad worked at Hoffmans manufacturer of ball bearings in Chelmsford. He was a machine setter. Mum was a housewife not allowed to work when pregnant. Previously worked on ammunition in Hoffmans. Was a nurse when meeting dad.”

 

Sheena Engelhart (née McGregor)

Born May 1944.  Mother was living in North Kensington. Sheena now lives in Bowen Island, B.C. Canada.

 

David Faiman

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Della and Sidney Faiman in London in the early 1960s
David Faiman with his grandchildren in Israel
David Faiman with his grandchildren in Israel

Born March 1944. “I went on to an academic career in theoretical physics and then solar energy: Willesden County Grammar School; Queen Mary College London; University of Illinois; Oxford University; CERN, Geneva; Weizmann Institute, Rehovot; Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. More info in Wikipedia. Parents moved to Jerusalem at age of 80. Mum died age 88, Dad at age 96.”

 

Jaqueline Ann Field (née Martin)

Born September 1942. “Dad was in the merchant navy.”

 

Graham Finesilver

Born 1941. Mother’s memories include: rooms very cold with only one log fire, most beds had names, his mother’s was Queen Ann. Mother and friends walked to the Willow Tree Tea Room in Old Amersham from Shardeloes to sit in the garden and have tea. Cellar at Shardeloes was full of armour and lace-up boots.

 

Graham John Fisher (On behalf of his father)

My Dad was born at Shardeloes and soon after adopted. His new parents were Beatrice Mary Fisher and Alban John Fisher from Olney.

 

Madeleine Fletcher (née Shaw)

Madeleine on the left with her mother, Elsa. Her sister Angela is with their father, James.

Born July 1944. Father was doing reserved occupation in Old Amersham before joining The Fleet Air Arm; he was a navigator. Parents moved out from SE London to Winchmore Hill. Sister to Angela Skrimshire, also a Shardeloes baby.

“Apart for a few early years in Brockham, Surrey, we returned to Amersham where I grew up eventually going to Dr. Challoners grammar school. I married Keith Fletcher of Chesham in 1964. We moved straight into a house in Chesham, where we are still living surrounded by beautiful countryside. We have two daughters Elaine and Katherine and one grandson. Having trained initially as a Hair Stylist, I have branched out in many areas, becoming a holistic therapist, an artist, exhibiting locally and now a children’s Author. I taught ballet for 17 years at a local dance school during the 80s. ”

 

Laurence Flood

Born February 1946.  “I have had an interest in the house and possess a book titled Shardeloes Papers. My Father came from the Irish Republic, mother from Southfields South London. Being Irish my father was not a combatant in the war and I believe he was in rectifying bombing damage to airfields. He died, of cancer in 1959.”

 

Veronica Forsyth (née McDermott)

Born June 1942.  Father was away in the war. I was the 2nd child in the family.

 

John French

John with his Mum
John with his Mum

Born September 1943.  “Dad was a Geordie from Gateshead and joined the RN as a Boy Sailor. Met Mum (née Keller) when she was a Wren. Dad served from 1935 until 1948 and then returned to Pineapple Rd where Mum lived with her mother. Myself, brother and sister all brought up at Pineapple Rd and all went to Dr Challoners. Mum recently died having lived at 17, Pineapple Rd, where she was born, for all of her 97 years apart for short break in Wrens and last 3 months in Care home. My mother’s mother was an Axten and she was born in the Chequers PH in Amersham in 1875 where her father was the licensee.”

 

Malcolm Frost

Born June 1944. “Father serving in army. Mother living with family in north London. My mother lives with me and will be 98 in September 2017. She has memories of Shardeloes.”

 

Marie Furniss (née Sansom)

Born May 1946.  Lives locally.

 

Plan Your Visit

49 High Street
Old Amersham
Buckinghamshire
HP7 0DP

01494 723700
info@amershammuseum.org

OPENING TIMES

Amersham Museum will now be closed throughout November. We hope to re-open after 2nd December.

“Enjoyed our visit to this wonderful interactive museum where you are positively encouraged to touch things!”

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