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



Ann Garrott (née McInerney)

Born April 1941.  Her parents were from County Clare in the Republic of Ireland and her father was stationed in Wales at the time in the Royal Artillery.


Elizabeth Gebbels (née Stapleton)

Born December 1943. “We were evacuated to my maternal grandparents soon after my birth. They lived at Orange Wood, Epping Upland, Epping, Essex. My father stayed in London.”


Wendy Gething (née Howard)

Born August 1946 to parents Harold Cappleman Howard and Winifred Hilda Howard (née Kirk) of Lewisham area. Wendy was either triplet or twin. Now living in Nottinghamshire.


Roy Goddard

Born July 1942. “My father was a Private serving with the East Surrey Regiment when war broke out. He was demobbed after the war.” Parents were living in Shoreditch, London E2.


Erica Godman (née Edwards)

Born June 1941, parents living in Chesham Bois


Patricia Golding (née Ambrose)
Born January 1947 to parents Richard Arthur Ambrose and Winifred Clara Winteridge. At the time living at 121 Lodge Avenue, Dagenham, Essex. My father was born in 1915 and served in the Army in the 2nd World war. He died in 1981. My mother worked in munitions. My parents married in December 1944. My mother was born in 1918 and died a few months before her 100th birthday in 2018. Now retired but have been working in a local charity shop. Living in South Woodham Ferrers.


Peter Goodman

Born February 1942. “My parents lived in Matham Grove, Dulwich, London. My father worked for Moser (aircraft packer) and died in 1945 when a German V2 rocket hit the factory in the Borough . Mum keep on working as a housekeeper. She married again and we moved to Bermondsey in 1947. She died one week short of her 100th birthday.”


Barry Goodwin

IMG_20150914_164021_kindlephoto-30343313Born May 1943.  “I know my mother was in the land army during the war. My birth certificate states my father was a civil defence ambulance driver/ meat porter. I was evidently moved down to Bath with relatives as a baby for safety. I lived at the east Dulwich address until I was 21 and got married. I moved to New Cross. Lived on Lewisham Way at the junction of Shardeloes road and Amersham Vale/Way.  What a coincidence.”

“Schools attended: Grove Vale Infant, expelled for going walkabout at five years old, lol, Friern Rd Infants, Heber Rd Primary, all East Dulwich. Nunhead Secondary, Peckham. Tulse Hill Comprehensive. Left with O level English, A level art.  Work history: Sign draftsman; Silk screen printer; postman West Central, Holborn; Wholesale Fashion trade, Oxford Circus Area, five years; mini cab driver; courier company partner; van delivery self employed; BMX and skateboard shop, cycle shop manager; Mini cab driver again. I spent the last eleven years until I retired working for my sons removal company at Kidbrooke, SE4. Accounts, payroll and general office. Retired at 68 years old. Now I write and self publish my books on Amazon under the pen name, Charlie B. and I run my own group on Goodreads where I’ve made friends with people all over the world.”


Monica Goozee (née Hersant)

Born June 1944.  Mother living in Westminster. Father served with Royal Engineers.


Jean Gordon (née East)

Jean’s mother in the early 1940s
Jean’s parents taken during the war

Born November 1946. Her parents lived in Great Missenden. “I don’t know much about my beginnings, apart from my mother being in Shardeloes for about 3 weeks. Dad was unable to visit for 10 days, as he had not been demobbed.  Dad took part in the D-Day landings and, after the war, resumed working as a baker and confectioner. He later became the first caretaker at the newly-built Misbourne School in Great Missenden where he worked till he died in 1971.

I met and married my husband (an Australian) in 1971. We have two sons and one daughter and now five grandchildren. I’m very pleased to be included as a ‘Shardeloes Baby’ and a (very small) part of Shardeloes’ long history.”


Christine Gosden (née Knight)

Born November 1945


Marion May Greaves (née Tolton)

Born February 1945.  “My parents, Stanley James Tolton and Winifred May Tolton, were living in Upper Norwood, London SE19, at the time of the war. My father was in the RAF and he was stationed in Egypt at the time of my birth, maintaining and guarding the aeroplanes that might be required in future events, and didn’t return home to England until July 1946. Mum had to leave her two older sons with relatives whilst she went to Shardeloes to deliver me. I was born 2 weeks early weighing just over 5lbs. She was advised to stay until I had gained some more weight. She recalled working in the kitchen during her early labour. She also remembered walking up a long drive to reach the house.”

“My maiden name was Marion May Tolton. I now am living in Needham Market, Suffolk since my husband’s work moved there, soon after our marriage in 1966. My married name being Greaves.”


Barbara Grundy (née Hiller)

Barbara with her mother, Cassie Hiller, possibly in the grounds of Shardeloes

Born June 1942. “The only thing I remember my mother saying about Shardeloes was that as she was 46 when I was born (unusually old for 73 years ago) & it was possible that she might have a tricky birth, she was sent to the peace & safety of the countryside. My brother was 25 years older than myself, in WW2 for seven years, the last of those in Burma. My parents, thinking that they might never see him again & so would not have much to show for their lives, thought they would start over & so this resulted in myself. Luckily my brother returned from Burma safe & sound, & I wonder what he thought of his unexpected baby sister.”


Lola Gudsell (Nee Walton, mother’s name was Violet Walton and my father Joseph Walton)

Born February 1941. Her mother lived in Amersham-on-the-Hill and her father was stationed in Weedon. Her two older sisters had measles and her mother had to be put into isolation, so she was sent to Shardeloes to one of the converted stables.


Lila Guha

Born October 1947, now living in London.


Chris Hailey

Born October 1946


Annette Halford

Born October 1945 to Florence Alice Ellen Kent, a NAAFI Manageress. I was adopted by Richard and Rhoda Read who lived in Slough. I didn’t know that I was adopted until I was 18. I traced my natural mother in 1990, met her in 1992. She died in 1993. I have lived in Australia since 1972. 


Susan Hancock (née Blundell)

Born February 1947.  Her father owned Blundell’s Bookshop in Chesham.  “It was a notoriously cold winter and my mother used to tell us that my father strapped tennis rackets to his feet to act as snow shoes and walked from Chesham to Shardeloes several times. She was not able to leave Shardeloes for quite a long period because the roads were impassable!”


John Hankins

photo 1photo 1-1Born January 1944.  “I only knew [that I was born at Shardeloes] as it is written on my birth certificate. At the time my parents would have been living in White City Shepherds Bush, London. My father was in the RAF at the time. I lived there until I was 21 when I got married and moved to Middlesex then to Kent. In 1981 we moved to Newquay Cornwall where we still live. We have just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. My mother didn’t really say anything to me about Shardeloes and how she was sent there to have me. I have an older sister and wonder if she would have been with my mother when she was sent there.

We have family at Flackwell Heath that we visited in March so we went along to Shardeloes and thought what a beautiful building it was. We named our first house in Newquay ‘Shardeloes’ thinking it was a little village in Amersham, but we found out after that it was a stately home, no wonder we couldn’t find it on the map.”



Christine Hawgood (née Panter)

Born March 1947.  Parents were living in Plumstead, S E London


John Heelas

Born to parents Gladys Violet and John (Tom) Heelas of London E15. Now living in Cornwall.


Gillian Frances Hicks (née Eurich)

Born January 1945 “My father was in the Royal Navy and my mother was in the Royal Air Force. My father at the time of my birth was serving in the Royal Navy at sea still at war. He didn’t get to know about my birth for weeks after and didn’t know whether he had a son or daughter or even if my mother was alright. He found out when a telegraph was received on board by the Captain who then celebrated the news with him with a tot of Rum.”


Michael Holder

Born August 1944. Parents were living in Aston Abbotts near Aylesbury. Now living in New South Wales.


Rita Hopper (née Morton)

Born January 1947 to parents Edward Henry and Florence Lilian Morton. Parents lived in New Cross, London. Now living in Bromley, Kent.


Nigel Houghton

Born April 1944 to parents Alice Millicent Ann Houghton  and Harold Handman of West London.  My dob, 4.4.44, has always been a talking point. Although it looks unique, other babies must have been born In Shardeloes on that day. I would love to meet up with them – even if just by Zoom.
After school at the new Holland Park Comprehensive, studied at the LSE and then at the University of Minnesota US. Back to UK. Producer/Director for BBC for 8 years. Then set up own award-winning film and video production company. Developed software to help older people use computers. Now teaching English and writing language course. Married for 55 years to boyhood love, Mary. Two wonderful daughters, Jane and Sarah and two incredible granddaughters.
Sadly, my father, a watchmaker, died when I was 7 and my mother died in her 70’s. She always spoke glowingly about Shardeloes. Now living in Battersea.


Marion Howden (née Jones)

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Born October 1944.  “I was born at Shardeloes as my mother was taken there to escape the London bombing. My father was a Rifleman in the King’s Rifles and after leaving the army at the end of the war my father went to work in the printing industry.” (The images show Marion with her mother and a recent photo.)



Plan Your Visit

49 High Street
Old Amersham

01494 723700

We are open from Wednesday to Sunday, 12 noon until 4:30pm. You can pre-book your time slot or drop-in.

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

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