St George's House,
Northern Police Orphanage. 1898-1956  Harrogate, Yorkshire, England.




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The gardens at St George's were managed and organised by the Head Gardener, Lawrence Thomas Thrush, with the help of George Bateson, Under Gardener. They were extensive in size and included Greenhouses for growing out of season crops such as Lettuce, Cucumbers and Tomatoes. Some flowers too were grown,  Dahlias, Roses and Sweet peas being amongst Miss Knocker's and Mr Thrush's favourites.

Typical crops grown were: Carrots, Cabbages, Potatoes, Peas, Beans, Cauliflours, Onions, Beetroot, Rhubarb, Gooseberries to mention a few. There was an Apple orchard which the children would harvest, along with Blackberries and Bilberries from the surrounding countryside.
The girls had  individual House plots (Gurney, Fawkes and Ingilby) in a small garden area overlooked by the Children's Dining Room, Girl's Playroom and the Sick Wing, in which they tried to grow vegetables and flowers from seed, sometimes with mixed results.


Girls tending their 'House' plots.                                               Cabbages as far as the eye can see......

House plants were grown and used around the House especially on Annual Meeting and Sports Day. There were always houseplants on the table beneath the War Memorial in the Entrance Hall and used in some of Miss Knockers rooms.

St George's House. Head Gardener
Lawrence Thomas Thrush
 & his wife Marie Thrush
    Article written by David & Dorothy Thrush          

Lawrence Thomas Thrush was born on 19th May 1904 in Chippenham Wiltshire.   His father Benjamin Thrush was also a gardener,    his last employment being with the Fairfax Family near York, who were prominent in the battle of Marston Moor.
Interestingly Benjamin Thrush moved seven times in his employment and over time Lawrence Thrush eventually moved eight times - it must have been in their blood! 

Lawrence Thrush started work as a chauffeur gardener at a large estate in Keighley. From this employment he progressed to full time gardener.  It was in Keighley he met Marie Robinson whom he married in Tadcaster on 20th November 1926.   He moved to Harrogate to work at Norwood College. 
The next position was St.George's House where he lived with his family in the Gardeners Cottage (now demolished to make way for housing).  When St.George's closed in 1956 he moved and worked at the All Saints Cemetery in Harrogate. Later he then joined St.Andrew's Police Convalescent Home where he and his family lived in the Gardeners Cottage located on the grounds.  This cottage has also since been demolished!
He was popularly received as a first class gardener and won prizes for his efforts at the Harrogate Horticultural Shows.
He assisted Mr. Geoffrey Smith (one time head of  the RHS Harlow Carr Gardens) to set up the HC gardens in its infancy when the land was just barren.
He grew many vegetables which were of course used both in St.George's and the Convalescent Home.  The flowers which were his pride and joy were Dahlias, for which he won many prizes.

                Lawrence & Marie Thrush with         Marie & Lawrence Thrush                      Marie Thrush & "Judy"
             son Brian
He died suddenly but peacefully (after spending the previous evening with us playing cards) on 28th September 1964.   He died in bed of a heart attack.
He is succeeded by his three sons Gordon Thrush, David Thrush and Brian Thrush, all of whom are still living.
The Ashes of both Lawrence & Marie Thrush were buried in the grounds of St Andrew's, next to where St George's was located.

Gordon Thrush was a policeman and trained at Harrogate Police Training College.
David Thrush was originally interesting in catering, but eventually went into Aircraft engineering at Yeadon.
Brian Thrush went into the R.A.F. for a short period and then did accounting at Courtaulds.

Some of the St George's children used to go ‘scrumping’ apples and Mr.Thrush used to turn a blind eye!   Any of the orphan children wanting an  ‘Agony Aunt’ chat used to go and have a word with Mr.Thrush in the greenhouses, to talk over there problems.


Lawrence's son David can remember that at Christmas time Miss Knocker would invite the Thrush family in for the whole day, to share the celebrations with the children of St.George's.  There would be Christmas dinner and the Christmas pudding caused great excitement, each child wondering who would find the most money wrapped in foil.   Many children were tempted to have too many helpings!!    There were games in the gym and presents off the tree - a great time was had by all.   

A highly thought of and well respected member of St George's Staff. Editor 


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