Saturday, 9 May 2009

Town Thorns Manor, Easenhall

Sir Alfred Herbert acquired Town Thorns Manor at Easenhall in 1940 as house to which Coventry children could be evacuated in wartime, and gave it to Coventry City Council. Similarly, in the First World war he arranged for the house he rented from Lord Redesdale, Asthall Manor, to be used by convalescent soldiers.

After the war, the Town Thorns was turned into a school for children with learning difficulties. The Town Thorns Residential School for ESN Children was opened in January 1954, run by a Mr Brittan and his wife.

Mr Brittan wrote to Sir Alfred and Lady Nina Herbert in January 1954:

"Many times since January 20th when we opened as a residential school for ESN children, the boys and girls have spoken about the "lovely house" and "when are Sir Alfred and Lady Herbert coming to visit us?" We are very grateful for this opportunity to work with these problem cases in such delightful surroundings, and both the children and staff would welcome the chance to thank you personally. Perhaps the best thanks you can receive is to know how great has been the change for good in these children - mentally, morally and physically."

One of the children wrote to them on 1st November 1954, "I am writing to thank you for giving us the use of this school and its grounds. Perhaps you would like to visit us one day for lunch or tea. Please write to say when you can come. Our album will show you some of the things we are doing here. Yours faithfully, Pauline Plant".

Later letters - written up until 1956 (Sir Alfred died in 1957) thank them for various gifts - a boat for use on the lake, 'waist slips' for the girls, fountains pens and propelling pencils and the like.

Although after Sir Alfred died in 1957, Lady Herbert maintained her links with the school until she suffered a stroke in 1963.

Return to Sir Alfred Herbert Index


  1. I was a resident atTown Thorns when it was a childrens home.I was fostered when I was7yrs old.

    1. My mum and her brothers were resident at Town Thorns when it was childrens home. I have some paperwork that says she visited Lady Herbert at Whitchurch on 25/01/41 and that she was later taken to Lady Herberts on 03/02/41.

  2. My father Les Smith was there during the war, along with his brothers, Tom, Cyrall and Doug. They were separated and I never traced his brother to Australia till my dad was in his 80's. I also asked Coventry Council for his records under Athens freedom of information act. The diary entries catalogue assault and harsh treatment by certain staff + sending him to a training farm at the age of 13, only to be returned bye cause the legal age to work was 14.

    1. I was resident in the Town Thorns children's home from mid-1942 until 15 April 1947. The names Tom and Doug Smith seem vaguely familiar in that context but my memory of them is not clear. My name is Alexander C. Jolly

  3. barry morse
    was at the school 1965 to 1967

  4. I (Arpad Kovacs) was resident at TT around 1969 with my brothers Steven and Lazslo and sister Erica Kovacs.

    I was one of the children who participated in painting a large mural of Jungle Book on the boy's wing wall where we lines up in single file waiting to enter the dining area.

    I remember Mr Derbyshire. Of all the staff, I liked him most.

    Some of the names I remember are (residents): Steven (or Stephen) Cox, Paul Poigner and brothers Pierre and Ricardo Sacaroniac (??).

    During holidays, when most of the other children went home, I, and those who did not go home would go to Chorley Residential School.

    I was there during the construction of the swimming pool, the erection of the roped tyres (between two large trees) and decimalisation.

    I remember the tuck shop.

    I have some photos of inside and outside TT - some never published.

  5. I went to town thorns when I was 7 and left due to the school closing down down I was 14 I was one of the last school pupils to go to that school very sad day to say goodbye to a great school

    1. Hiya Dean. Was the Jungle Book painting on the wall still there when you were there?

      Also, do you have any photos of TT possibly taken during your stay there?

      Did they still have the tuck shop right to the end?


  6. I was at townthorns till I was 13 that was in 1968 I was there for 3 years mr Ridley was my house parent and mr Britain was head i also remember one of the girl house parents was in the tv program the prisoner loved the death slide and tuck shop

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  8. I was at town thorns from 1963to1967 I remember people like Barry Morse David gray noel maggs how's the leg barry