Limpsfield Grange 

Oxted, Surrey

 

 

"I have been reminded of my time at Limpsfield Grange because of a programme on tv tonight about autistic girls.

"I was at Limpsfield Grange in about 1956 for about a year. In those days it was called an Open Air School. "I was aged 10 and suffered from asthma and I think was quite sickly with frequent colds and flu. I remember another girl had very severe eczema and another had high blood pressure, but to be honest I didn’t really know why I was there. I think it was because I lived in Mitcham Junction and it was offered to London children.

"I remember being quite disappointed that we didn’t sleep outside, not even on a balcony.

The school day was more or less the same as my usual school, one session a week devoted to writing home. The library was limited so they had to send for extra books for me.

"We would walk in crocodile fashion to the nearest, I suppose Limpsfied village to spend our pocket money, and I was taken in on my own once to be fitted with my first pair of glasses, which I loved. 

"The meals were taken in a big oak panelled room, with a raised platform where the teachers sat, and after the evening meal our sweet tins were brought in and we could choose 2 sweets each.

"There were only girls there and, I think, only female teachers. There was a matron and a sick bay. I continued to have asthma, but nobody then thought of allergies and I sometimes woke up with the school cat on my bed.

"I am thinking that the teachers were quite strict, but presumably fair because I can’t remember any particular upsets, and I don’t remember being homesick either. My parents used to row a lot, so I wondered if that was why I had been sent away as it was often about me.

"I think there was visiting once a month but I don’t remember parents coming that often, probably because it was a difficult journey and they had no car. There was a summer fete which was great fun, the gardens were lovely. especially the sloping bank which we could only roll down on this day. After a year I went home and back to my school in Hackbridge. I continued to have asthma, but by now my parents had 3 Shetland Sheepdogs and my bed still had feather pillows and quilt, so no wonder.

"Limpsfield Grange is not on the list on your site, so I hope this is all relevant, I’d love to talk to anyone else who was there at the same time".

 

Regards, Pam Carstairs nee Treneer, aged 67

 

If you would like to share your own memories of Limspfield Grange, please email us. We can pass messages onto Pam.

 

NB. This is information about the ITV programme Pam was watching on the school's work today (external site) http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/whats-on/film-news/girls-autism-documentary-shows-life-9665309