Throughout all the years that children were housed at Town Thorns, daffodils were picked in the spring. The bulk came from the old main driveway known as Rookery Drive. It was not part of the grounds post 1938, but permission was obtained every year from the landowner, the descendant of John Gray. During the school’s lifetime that person was his daughter, Mrs Walpole-Browne who lived in Halford. Thousands of daffodils were sold in Coventry. Children were involved in all stages form picking, bunching and selling if the season fell in term time. Staff continued the effort in holiday time. The school and the Save the Children Fund shared the proceeds. Often some of the money was used to plant more bulbs particularly alongside what is now the main driveway.

The School

During the 60s children remained in residence for the duration of the school term. If a parent came in person with transport, a child was allowed to go home for the weekend. Parental visits were welcomed at weekends, but very few arrived.  In the early 70s a Midland Red bus came to the school on Friday evenings bringing parents who would accompany their child home. This did enable some to leave for two days, but was not a good system as no one knew for sure who was coming and much distress was caused by a non-appearance. The system was refined and a local coach firm was contracted to take children to Pool Meadow bus station where parents had to meet their offspring. A signed form dictated which children were put on the coach. This, too, caused upsets, because if the adult was not there, the child was taken back to the school. As time went on, older children were given the responsibility of travelling from Pool Meadow unaccompanied. For most of that decade the return to school was on a Sunday evening. In the 80s, the school shut down every second weekend, and soon after that five day boarding was introduced, with children returning on Sunday evening. Finally, they returned on Monday morning. The Leicestershire girls were taken by mini bus for home weekends once each half term. When five day boarding came into operation, a coach transported them home. It was a very long trip for some, coming from Market Harborough, Melton Mowbray and beyond.

In the 50s, the school owned a narrow boat which was used during evenings and weekends. It was not until the 70s that a mini bus was made available to staff to take children further than walking distance. A second minibus was presented by the Variety Club. In the 80s, a caravan at Billing Aquadrome was added to the assets for recreational activities.

Two or three gardeners were employed by the Council to maintain the grounds and the walled garden. It was a typical Victorian walled garden complete with greenhouses, potting sheds and a bothy. Strawberries were tended, covered with huge pieces of rope netting. Tomatoes and cucumbers grew under glass. They were sold to staff in school or at the Council House. Some very fine chrysanthemums were ready at Christmastime

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