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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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.
Janet Mary Darby
Born March 1942 to Richard William and Mary Ann Darby of Stepney, East London. Richard was a docker and Mary a housewife. Now living in Dagenham, Essex.
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.
To parents Walter and Georgina (known as Jean) Colebeck.
Mum and Dad were living in rented ‘rooms’ in a private house, which wouldn’t have been suitable for my birth – so lucky us that Shardeloes was still in commission! Auntie & Uncle had to struggle through snowdrifts for a visit, I’m told. On our discharge we went back to Blackheath, then when I was three we were allocated a council house on the new St. Paul’s Cray estate, where Mum & Dad lived for the rest of their lives. How I wish they could have known about the Shardeloes Museum exhibition.
We’re currently ‘camping’ at No.1 son’s house, awaiting completion on our cottage in Chittlehampton, North Devon.
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)
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.”
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.
Born 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.
John William Diaper
Born in February 1945 to Ellen and William Frank Diaper, mother was living in South London and father was in the army. Now living in West Sussex.
Born August 1947 to Elsie and Albert Cooper of Chesham. Now living in Chesham.
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.”
David John Dodds
Born in July 1941 to Harry and Francis Maud Dodds of Downham, South London. Now living in Woodbridge, Suffolk. My cousin, Maureen Savage was also born at Shardeloes in December of 1941.
Born February 1946. “Dad was a coalman in Aylesbury.”
Born June 1942. “Mother was unmarried and from North London, and sent out of London for my birth. I was adopted at three weeks.”
John David Duggan
Born November 1946 to parents Violet and David Duggan of Bermondsey, London.
John passed away on the 25th January 2021 Due to Covid 19, Helen Duggan (wife since 2013).
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.
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
Born June 1945
Born November 1947. (Here is a copy of his birth certificate.)
Jill Ede (née Brinsden)
Born May 1943.
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.”
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.
Jillian Clare Evans
Born in March 1944 to parents Joyce Dorothy Helen Evans (née Coney) and David Soley Evans of Chesham and Grasse. Now living in Grasse, France ( les Alpes-Maritimes).
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.”
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.
Born in July 1945 to parents Nellie Mabel Rebecca Flemington and William Flemington from South London, William was in the RAF.
The story I was told—
The day I was born there was a thunderstorm and the power was out. I was born by candlelight. Had I been a girl I would have been called (hopefully) Frances as a popular film at that time was “Fanny by Gaslight”.
Mum worked for London Transport road testing buses after repair. Dad was a printing compositor in peacetime and lived to be 101.
Now living in New Eltham, London.
Alan William John Fletcher
Born March 1941 to parents William Arthur Fletcher and Mabel Therese Fletcher of Abbey Wood, London SE2. “If it wasn’t for the information on my birth certificate, I would never have known!” Now living in Bellerive, Tasmania, Australia.
Madeleine Fletcher (née Shaw)
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. ”
Barbara Christine Flett (née Hole)
Born November 1942 to Kathleen Joan Hole. My mother was living in South London; Boyson Road, Southwark ?
My “father” (not biological) was overseas, fighting in the Middle East and Africa and POW in Italy & Germany.
I do not know where my two older brothers were at the time, I don’t expect they would also be at Shardeloes; maybe minded by a friend. Now living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
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.”
Born January 1945 to parents Dr Donald Black and Phyllis Jean Black. My mother and my sister lived with my grandmother at number 10, Elm Close, Amersham during the war while my father was away as a surgeon in the navy. He did not see me for many months after I was born. I still have his telegram to my mother congratulating her on my birth. Now living at Worcester.
Veronica Forsyth (née McDermott)
Born June 1942. Father was away in the war. I was the 2nd child in the family.
Born October 1945 to parents Ernest Fountain and Marjorie Fountain (née Elcome) of Slough. My father was born in Amersham and was one of 10 children. They lived at 121 High St, Old Amersham. His father, Herbert, was leader of the town band for many years. Now living in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.
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.”
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.