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For many years, St Hilda’s East worked with the Children’s Country Holiday Fund to provide local children with a trip away. These holidays gave the kids a chance to see the countryside – and gave their parents a bit of a break! Children would go off in pairs to stay for a fortnight with families across the UK.

For many, these trips were the first time they had seen a farmyard or played in a field. If the trip was successful, the host family would welcome them back again the next year and often strong bonds were formed.

Terry grew up on the Boundary Estate and went on his first ever holiday through St Hilda’s East. Here, he tells us about staying with a family in Yorkshire:

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Our oldest photos

As far as we know so far, this is our oldest photo with people in it. The dresses they’re wearing suggest that the photo is Edwardian. Other than this, the photo is a mystery! Maybe they’re pupils of Cheltenham Ladies College, given the clothes that they’re wearing.

One of our other oldest photos is this one, showing the interior of the building on Old Nichol Street. St Hilda’s used to be based in here, with ‘Residents’ (volunteers) living on site for months or years on end. The building was specially built and was very beautiful, with a drawing room, study room and oratory (which looks like a chapel) for the Residents. In 1906, when Dorothea Beale, head of Cheltenham Ladies College, died it was decided to spend her legacy on improving the building. That year’s annual report tells us that “the additions will consist of a Library, which is very much needed by the residents, a Chapel and four bedrooms, one with a private sitting room.”

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Summer of 1982

Our stall at the Arnold Circus picnic wasn’t just a fun day out, it also helped us a lot with our search for people with a connection to St Hilda’s East. Karl was recognised by a friend in this picture below:

Karl (second from right) grew up on the Boundary and is shown here on a summer play scheme. The writing on the back of the photo says 1982 but, measuring by the hairstyles and clothes, Karl is sure that it’s earlier!

Here, Karl tells us what St Hilda’s East meant to him:

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Patsy has been coming to St Hilda’s on and off since she was a little girl, as she explains in this extract:

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We were really pleased this week because the East London Advertiser featured a story about us.  Explaining a little about the history of St Hilda’s and the Boundary Estate, it was a great advert for our Community Memories Project – the more people we can get involved the better!

Jenny, (bottom, third from left) went to Southend with St Hilda’s as a toddler and is now volunteering with us.  ‘It’s wonderful to have the chance to root through old photos and have a trip down memory lane,’  she says, ‘I would love to meet other people who remember St Hilda’s like I do.’  Read the full article here.

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