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

 


 


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The Story of St George's House, Harrogate. 
 

The following is taken from her book “The Story of St. George’s House”, written and printed at the request of the Committee, June 1948. 

                                                                                         

                                                                  Miss Evelyn Mainwaring Knocker
                                                                 Lady Superintendant 1926 - 1949

The Story of St George's House, Harrogate
formerly known as the Northern Police Orphanage

It was the year of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria; it was the time of Dickens and of the Earl of Shaftesbury and of the expansion of many philanthropic schemes. It was the age towards which women made such a strong contribution.
Had not Florence Nightingale only recently stirred men's consciences with her reports of the conditions of the nursing of wounded soldiers in the Crimean War ? Was not Agnes Weston rousing the interest of the public in the men of the Navy ?

Education for English girls was rapidly improving, largely owing to the inspiration of Mary Gurney, and, in the heart of her half sister, Catherine Gurney, the desire was formed to do something herself for the Police, a body of men in whose welfare no one so far had shown much interest. 

                                                                                               
                                                                                     
Miss Catherine Gurney OBE                                                                               
                                                                                      

In the year 1897 Northern Police Forces expressed a definite wish to Miss Gurney for an Orphanage for their own children in their own area, and she immediately responded. Coming from a family of keen business men, her father belonging to the firm of W.B.Gurney & Co., Shorthand Writers to the Houses of Parliament, intermarried as the Gurneys were with such families as the Trittons and the Barclays, Catherine Gurney chose the sites of the Homes she founded with acumen and with a keen eye to the future development of the area. Harrogate was a Spa, healthy, with keen moorland air, and in an accessible position.                                                                                                  

In November 1897, walking over the Stray, Miss Gurney met a Constable (P.C.Chappell, who became Supt. Chappell later on).To him she put the query as to whether he knew of any house suitable for an Orphanage for the children of the Police. He told her of a Boys’ School, St. George’s College, that the Headmaster wished to sell. Immediately at first sight Miss Gurney knew that this was the house she wanted. It had possibilities possessed by none of the many other houses she had seen. After obtaining a report on it from the West Riding Surveyor, she made an offer of £9,500. To her intense dismay this was bluntly refused, the purchase price was stated to be £12,000. This was a figure beyond Miss Gurney’s means, especially as much of her own private income had been used for the Southern Orphanage and Home. Yet, she felt, here was the very house she needed. She left Harrogate to stay with Colonel and Mrs. Ainsworth at Smithills Hall, Bolton, and while there the thought of St. George’s College pressed very much on her mind. She herself said later, “I felt that the question must be fully faced and thought out. It was about 3.30 a.m. when I finally decided in prayer to make a bid for this house.” Accordingly from the Post Office at Wigan she sent a pre-paid telegram to the owner in the South of England offering £10,000 and adding “as for an Orphanage hope it may be accepted.” On her return that evening from Police Meetings in Wigan and Blackburn, she found a telegram awaiting her at Smithills Hall. Nor are the contents surprising when the circumstances in which her offer was made are considered. The reply was “As for Orphanage will agree subject to legal advice.” Thus St. George’s College with its accompanying grounds of 12 acres passed into Miss Gurney’s hands to be held in trust by her for the Northern Police Forces of England and Wales.

                                                                                  
                                                                           The original St George's House building.

The next obstacle to be met and overcome was the £10,000 to be paid. Many kind and influential friends became interested in Miss Gurney’s project, among them to be remembered are Sir Thomas Brooke, J.P., D.L., of Huddersfield, who was the first Honorary Treasurer, holding the office for 10 years when it was taken by Mr. William Brooke who with his wife, gave and did much for the children. Other names were Sir Theo Peel, Sir John Barran Bart., of Leeds and Mr. E. P. Arnold-Foster. Nor must the help given by Sir Henry Mitchell of Bradford be forgotten. Sir Henry was introduced to Miss Gurney by the Chief Constable of that City, and he soon discerned her predicament as to where the final £5,000 was to be procured. To quote Miss Gurney’s own words here, “Sir Henry said, ‘I understand what you want, Miss Gurney. You come down to the Bank with me and I will see what I can do.’ It was a pouring wet day, but he readily came down with me to the Bank of which he was a Director and arranged with the Manager for me to draw on the £5,000 and to leave the Deeds in the Manager’s care till the whole was paid.” Sir Henry remained a subscriber throughout the whole of his life.
The purchase of the house and estate was completed at the Office of Lord Harewood’s Solicitor, Lord and Lady Harewood evincing much interest in the Orphanage and taking much trouble to explain to Miss Gurney the mysteries of being accepted as a Member of the Forest of Knaresborough.

                                                                                                  
During these early years Miss Gurney was visiting the Northern County and City and Borough Police Forces, explaining her project and certainly obtaining their interest and help. They arranged collections, they introduced her to influential and wealthy business men, the West Riding Constabulary voluntarily subscribed half a day’s pay to her Fund.  Small wonder is it that within 2 years the purchase money was provided, and immediately Miss Gurney branched out into the building of the Northern Police Convalescent Home. This was in 1900.

In 1893 the Christian Police Trust had been formed to act as Trustees for the Institutions already in existence at that date and to preserve the religious basis of the Institutions. The original Trustees were men of large means, Sir Herbert Tritton, a senior partner in Barclay’s Bank, Ltd., and one of the leading men in the city of London, became Chairman and Honorary Treasurer of the Trust, his fellow Trustees being Mr John Cory, Sir Algernon Coote and Mr John Gurney, Sir Hildred Carlisle (brother of Prebendary Wilson Carlisle of the Church Army), Sir Archibald Campbell and later on Mr. Harold G. Judd. The names of the Trustees are always on the first page of every Annual Report. Their work is to hold the funds in trust for the different Institutions on whose behalf they are invested. From the beginning it was laid down that to divert the funds to any other purpose would be a breach of the trust. The financial year of the Trust Corporation closes on February 28th so that the Balance sheet of the Accounts can be ready annually for each Institution. Also from the outset there has been representation for the Northern and Southern Institutions on the Christian Police Trust Corporation.

In March 1899 the Trustees were holding the Title Deeds of St. George’s, as the loan of £5,000 had been entirely paid. Miss Gurney had also put through successfully an appeal for exemption from Income Tax and House Duty on the ground that the Orphanage was supported by charitable contributions. She had also managed to arrange for the assessment of the Orphanage for the local rates at half the considered amount.
 
In January 1898 the first child had been admitted, Minnie Smith from Sunderland. Ten days later two brothers, George and Alexander Nuttall from Burnley Borough were admitted. Both have been back several times since leaving and have brought their grown-up daughters with them. These first children, however, and others coming at this time, lived in a temporary home in Harrogate, while St. George’s was being altered and repaired. At the first recorded Meeting of the General and Finance Committee a Resolution was passed that the title of the house should henceforth be The Northern Police Orphanage. This continued until June 1942 when it was officially changed at an Annual Meeting of the General Council to St
George’s House (for the children of the Northern Police Forces), the words in brackets to be used when needed officially.

                                                                                                 
The children continued to come. At the end of the first year 27 had been admitted and not one child had been refused. The conditions of admission were a recommendation from the Chief Constable. Motherless children were to be considered if there was a vacancy and by payment. No Mother was ever asked to make any payment. The rules in force at Redhill were adopted and provision for an exception to the rule was usually to be found in any rule affecting the child personally. From the beginning the child was the main centre of the Orphanage, for the child it had been bought, equipped and was being run.

At first the children and the convalescent Police were under the same roof as St. George’s, but in November 1899, the Police moved into a temporary house while the Convalescent Home was being built and St. George’s remained for the children.

The first Lady Superintendent was Miss Emma Chapman, who with Miss Gurney had the uphill work of pioneering and running the Orphanage without a settled income.

In 1903 discussions re amalgamation took place between the Committee at Harrogate and the Committee in Manchester of the Manchester and Salford Police Orphanage, which had been opened in 1889 by Miss Mary Hopkinson. It was eventually decided to close the latter and to send some of these children and subsequently others to the Northern Police Orphanage. A great work had already been carried out by the Manchester and Salford Orphanage, and unofficial visits to Harrogate were paid by Miss Hopkinson, herself a close friend of Miss Gurney. The report of these visits was completely satisfactory and an agreement was made to pay a stipulated sum for each child admitted; a grant of £200 was given from the Manchester & Salford Fund other special contributions followed. Miss Hopkinson and Miss Armitage were invited to join the General and Finance Committee of the Orphanage at Harrogate and Miss Hopkinson is still, in this Jubilee year, a Member of that Committee.

                                                  
                               
 Miss Mary Hopkinson, photo dated 1939.    
Miss Emma Chapman

From the outset the children of the Liverpool City Police went to their own Orphanage at Liverpool and the neighbouring Forces of Bootle, Birkenhead, Wallasey and Warrington joined with them.

With this increase in the number of children resident and likely to come, it was found necessary to improve and to make structural additions to the building, so that in 1906 the Gymnasium was built at the end of the building nearest to the Convalescent Home, a large hall approximately 60 x 27 ft. with locker seats round two sides and a platform, so that the room could be used for Concerts. Since then the Gym has been equipped with modern apparatus from the Firm of Niels Larsen, Ltd., of Leeds, who overhaul this annually and keep it in repair.

To return to structural alterations – in 1913 it was found that the foundations of the South Wing were unsafe and the drainage was defective. The Wing was therefore reconstructed and a second storey added. This is the Wing on the Otley Road and contains mainly Staff rooms, the Food Stores and various pantries. The Laundry was also built during this year and for many years the children’s personal clothing and small household linen were done on the premises, large things such as sheets and blankets were sent to an outside laundry. In 1936, owing to the difficulty of procuring laundry maids, and also because larger electrical apparatus was necessary, it was decided to close the Laundry as such. In the 1939-45 World War it was used as a sectional A.R.P. Post.

                                                                                               
All these improvements needed money, and the increasing family needed a more steady income, while the children who had left, quite frequently needed financial help. The Bank balance was often dangerously low. Many Forces had formed the habit of sending donations from various Sports Days, in the opening years Teams from Lancashire and Yorkshire had played Cricket Matches naming such “The Wars of the Roses.” All money sent in from Sports had been earmarked by Miss Gurney for the Endowment Fund, and she was also building up a large War Memorial Fund for a Seaside Home, by means of a Shilling Fund, and by other ways. To this Fund, the Bradford City Police presented a cheque for £4,000 in 1922, raised largely by collections made under the auspices of the Chief Constable, Mr. J Farndale, and Alderman T Sowden, Chairman of the Watch Committee and Lord Mayor of Bradford in that year. £500 paid direct or built up by regular contributions, endowed a cot in perpetuity at the Orphanage. Since those days the brass plates have been removed from the beds, for the sake of eliminating an Institution touch, but a record is kept on a list on an oak Board at the front door.

T
he income however was not sufficiently stable and Miss Gurney was often openly anxious. In 1920 she received a request from the Police Federation of England and Wales for representation for the various ranks on the Committee of the Orphanage. A meeting about this request was held on November 16th, 1920 at St. Andrew’s and a promise was made to Miss Gurney of increased subscriptions if representation was given. Subsequently the following Resolutions were made by the Joint Central Committee in 1921 – “That the Joint Central Council shall appoint 1 Inspector, 1 Sergeant and 1 Constable as representatives of the Cities, Boroughs and Counties of the Northern Forces” – “That in view of the fact we now have representatives on the Board of Management of the Police Orphanages, the Joint Central Committee recommends that a weekly subscription of 3d.per week be made by the Members of the Forces interested.”

The first serving Members were Insp. P. O’Neill from Kendal, Sergt. R. Whiteley from the West Riding and Constable G. Strangeways of Newcastle-on-Tyne.

During World War I, 1914-1918, the routine life at the Orphanage was broken. The Council School buildings were occupied by the Military and the Gymnasium at St. George’s was used for education. The Educative
Authorities provided teachers and desks. And the children of the Orphanage, with a number from outside, were taught at home.

During the War 37 old boys from St. George’s served, and of these 10 gave their lives. George Nuttall was gazetted as Captain in the Royal Navy, and Richard Ashbourne gained Meritorious Medal for an act of special gallantry in France.

In December 1918 the War Memorial, the gift of Dr. and Mrs Crawford Watson, was unveiled by the Right Hon. Sir John Grenfell Maxwell, P.C., G.C.B., etc., Commander in Chief, Northern Command. Major F.H. Fawkes presided at the Ceremony, and after a dedicatory Prayer offered by the Rev. E.A.Chard, St. George’s hymn was sung by the children. The Memorial is the work of the late Miss Frances Darlington and portrays in plaster the vision of St. George appearing to and succouring Richard Coeur de Lion. It is surrounded by a dark oak frame, with the Crusaders’ Motto “Deus vult” inscribed in gold on the pediment. Underneath is a brass plate containing the names of those who served in the War, the names of those who gave their lives had the capitals engraved in red.

                                                                                                 
In this year also the work of Miss Gurney for the Police and their children was recognised by H.M. the King conferring on her the honour of the Order of the British Empire.

Further, in 1918, the property was enfranchised and conveyed to the Christian Police Trust Corporation Ltd., to be held in trust for the Northern Police Orphanage and Northern Police Convalescent Home. Hitherto the property had been held by Miss Gurney as a tenant of the Duchy of Lancaster.

We pass to 1923 when the Police Orphanage was 25 years old, and we find that the children were beginning to receive Secondary education. It was in this year too that the present Honorary Treasurer, Lieut-Col. Sir William H. Ingilby, Bart., J.P., of Ripley Castle, near Harrogate, took up his work as Honorary Treasurer. In 1936, at the unanimous request of the Members of the General Council at their Annual Meeting Sir William became President as well as Honorary Treasurer and he has held both these positions ever since.

At the Christmas Party in 1923 to commemorate 25 years of work for the children of the Police, an illuminated address and a cheque for £500 was presented to Miss Chapman by Major Fawkes on behalf of the Committee and other friends.

In 1926 owing to ill health, Miss Chapman had to resign as Lady Superintendent. Since the opening of the Orphanage in 1898 she had supervised the house and the Staff and cared for the children. She was unable to give any warning of her resignation and an Emergency Committee was called at short notice. The children returned from their summer holidays on the day the Committee was held. Miss Gurney put forward the name of Miss Evelyn M Knocker, who had been at the Redhill Orphanage and was at that very time staying at the Police Convalescent Home. The Committee had an interview with Miss Knocker   and offered her the position of Lady Superintendent, and that very evening within an hour of her appointment she walked across to the Orphanage to welcome the children back from their holidays and to take up her new duties.

                                                                                         
                                                                    
Miss Evelyn Mainwaring Knocker

Ten days later, at a full Committee, it was decided to start on several large and necessary renovations. Domestic hot water on a circulatory system was put in, the Children’s Pantry was enlarged from the size of a cupboard to a room with two sinks, the mark of the original pantry being left on the floor as a momento of the work. Patterned crockery was bought for the children’s use and the Dining Hall was enlarged. The house was painted throughout on cream Dulux paint, brightly coloured linoleum was laid in the children’s rooms and the front stairs were covered with buff coloured patterned linoleum with rubber nosings. The cold water cisterns in the false roof were raised and a third one was added to increase the amount of storage. A new Feed Pipe from the main in the road was brought up to these tanks. The coal house near the kitchen was made into a Surgery and the walls painted white. Outside the larger of the two Greenhouses was rebuilt in 1927, and in 1929 a Cricket Pitch for the boys’ use was levelled and laid in St. Andrew’s field.

In 1931 Electric ovens and a Boiling Table with four plates were installed in the Kitchen. In 1935 an outside shed was converted into a Woodwork Room for the boys and furnished with Tables, Benches and Tools.

In 1
928 it was decided to build a Boys’ Wing with Common Room, Study, 2 Dormitories, a Bathroom and above a Flat with bedrooms for Staff use. This was to be a War Memorial by the Northern Forces and the money already accrued in the War Memorial Fund was used for payment. Up to this time the boys had no recreation room besides the Gym, which was not inviting nor homely enough for the week-ends and wet Sundays. In May 1928, the Foundation Stone of this new Wing was laid by the Chairman, Major F. H. Fawkes and a silver trowel was presented to him by the youngest boy. On May 31st 1930, this Wing was officially opened by H. R. H. The Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles. Viscount Lascelles accompanied the Princess and the guests consisted of Members of the Police Service. The Architect, Colonel R. B. Armistead of Bradford, presented Her Royal Highness with a gold key with which she unlocked the Wing and this door has hereafter been called “The Princess Mary Door.”                                                                                                                                                     

Before this an important piece of house reorganisation had occurred. In 1926 at the children’s own request a Company of Girl Guides and a Scout Troop were inaugurated, both registered at Guide and Scout Headquarters as the 6th Harrogate (St. George’s) Girl Guide Company and the 6th Harrogate (St. George’s) Scout Troop.

                                                                                                  
On January 22nd 1927, the King’s Colours and the Company and Troop Colours were officially presented at a ceremony at the Police Orphanage. The King’s Colours for the Guides were given by Lieut-Col. Sir William Ingilby and the Guide Company Colours by Miss M Hopkinson of Manchester. The Scouts’ King’s Colours were the gift of the late Sir Philip Lane (C. C. Lancashire) and the Troop Colours were given by the Harrogate Division of the West Riding Constabulary. Later on, the Cub Colours were the gift of the sons of two Police Officers at Salford.

F
or some time Miss Gurney had given up all active work in connection with her 5 Institutions, but she had never given up her interest. On August 11th 1930 the news came that she has passed into the fuller life, into the presence of the Master whom she had so faithfully served. She died at Hove, but had expressed the wish to be laid to rest in Harlow Hill Cemetery near the two Northern Homes that were so especially near to her heart. Both the Orphanages at Redhill and Harrogate were closed for the holidays, but St. George’s was re-opened and several children recalled to represent the boys and girls at the Funeral Service. This was held on Wednesday, August 13th, and representatives of a large number of Forces were present. The bearers were 6 Police Officers representing County, City and Borough Forces. Miss Gurney’s cousin, the Bishop of Plymouth, spoke a few words referring to her life’s work for the Police Forces of England and Wales through her determined but humble spirit. He gave her the titles of “The Lady of the Helmet” and “The Mother of the Police” and referred to her own words that she was “handing on her work to others.” The Cemetery, where she is laid to rest, is but ten minutes’ walk from St. George’s and St. Andrew’s. At St. George’s her crest is emblazoned on the glass vestibule door, and the bed used by the head girl is named after her, while in 1930-31 a Wing for the Girls was added to St. George’s and named the Gurney Wing. This consists of a splendid large Playroom for the girls with oak lockers and dressing room and wash room attached. Above is a large dormitory for the younger girls and above that another dormitory for the younger boys. The Foundation Stone was laid in June 1931 by Dr. Crawford Watson, and a silver trowel was given to him by the youngest girl as a memorial.

I
n 1931 the Committee were much occupied with important discussions concerning the organizing of St. George’s and St. Andrew’s. It was felt that the administrative side should be on an approved  permanent basis and therefore in December 1931 the Charitable Trusts Act 1853-1925 were applied by an order of the Charity Commissioners to both the Orphanage and the Home. In this Scheme the official composition of the General Council and the Committee is detailed and also the administration of income; the religious foundation of the work is also given. All the invested funds are still held by the Christian Police Trust Corporation Limited as Trustees. Thus the work, begun many years before by one who at the time was a comparatively young girl, was recognised and incorporated into an established business Scheme.

In May 1935, the Silver Jubilee of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary was commemorated by a visit to Belle Vue, Manchester, at the invitation of that City Police Force. Also the same day, on their way back to Harrogate, the children were the guests of the Leeds City Police for tea. In addition, at the invitation of the Home Office, 8 boys and girls went to the Royal Review of the Police and Constabulary in Hyde Park in July, when owing to hospitable arrangements made by the Police Federation they also “toured” London on a private coach and saw some of the main sights.

In February 1936 the news came through to St. George’s by telephone of the sudden and tragic death of Major Frederick Hawksworth Fawkes, who had been hunting on Stainburn Moor and suddenly collapsed on the field. This was a heavy blow for St. George’s. Major Fawkes had been Chairman since 1912 and President as well since 1931 and had steered and guided St. George’s through many channels, but always upstream. Many improvements to the building and estate and much progress for the children’s life and been carried through during the time of his wise and tactful management of Committee administration. Moreover many enjoyable Whitsuntide camps had been spent by the Scouts and Guides of St.
George’s on his moors, some even being on the grounds adjoining Farnley Hall. It is a matter of much congratulation for St. George’s that the position of Chairman of the Committee still remains in the Fawkes family and the present Chairman is a nephew of Major Fawkes. Indeed one of the reasons given by Major Le G.G. W. Horton-Fawkes  for accepting the position of Chairman at the Committee’s request, was the close association between his family and St. George’s for so many years. A framed photograph of Major F.H. Fawkes was presented by his sister, Miss Fawkes, in his memory and hangs in the Hall.

                                                                                                
In 1937 Major General Sir Llewelyn W. Atcherley (see footnote) consented to hold the position of Chairman for a time and in 1939 on his resignation, Mr. G. C. Vaughan (C. C. West Riding) consented to take on the duties temporarily. In 1944 Major Le G. G. W. Horton-Fawkes accepted the invitation to the Chairmanship of Committee.

In 1936 a circular letter re finance was sent to every individual Member of each of the Northern Forces. At the Annual Meeting of the General Council in June 1935 a note of warning had been sounded very forcefully by the Honorary Treasurer, Sir William Ingilby, who stated that the finances of the Orphanage were in a very serious condition and needed the attention once again of the Northern Forces. It was felt now that a uniform subscription from every Force on a definite basis was the only way of assuring a steady income, apart from interest derived from investments. This latter source was quite insufficient by itself to be responsible for the annual expenditure. The circular letter therefore appealed for a subscription of 2d.per week per man. The full results of this letter were not known for a period of approximately two years, but as they trickled in from Force after Force, it was heartening to read of the reception given to the letter, and now in this Jubilee year, and in fact for many years since 1936 regular subscriptions have been sent from practically every one of the Northern Forces. Thus the income is now established on a reliable foundation.

In December 1936, news came that Miss Emma Chapman, the first Lady Superintendent, from 1898-1926, had passed away in the south of England. Thus another and important link with the beginnings of St. George’s was severed.

In 1937 the Coronation of their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth was commemorated by a repetition of the visit to Belle Vue, Manchester, once again as the guests of the hospitable Manchester City Police.

From the fateful day in September 1939 when Mr. Neville Chamberlain proclaimed that Great Britain was once again at war with Germany, news came in from every quarter of old boys enlisting, training, going overseas. A record was kept of each boy and girl on active service and a monthly news letter was sent to each one during the War. Later on news came that Richard Peacock (Middlesbrough) had gained the Distinguished Flying Cross  for persistent bravery in a flight over enemy territory. From time to time old boys on leave turned up, and those on embarkation leave came to say goodbye and to visit their childhood’s home before leaving the Old Country. St. George’s was called to give only five of her sons to pay the supreme sacrifice. Owing to the vicinity of a large reservoir at the back of the house, it was considered unsafe to build an Air Raid shelter in the field for the children. Thanks to the kindness of the Chief Constable of the West Riding, a uniformed Police Officer was detailed for duty at St. George’s when the siren went at night. The children helped the war effort in many ways, by knitting, by making camouflage nets and by regular collecting of salvage from the neighbourhood. This last was undertaken by the Scouts. The children were also trained in fire-fighting and new apparatus was bought for the protection of the house.

When the war was over and life became hopefully more normal it was possible to resume the annual Reunion of old girls and boys at Easter. Every girl and boy leaving St. George’s becomes automatically an old girl or boy and receives a Christmas card and a letter with news of the recent happenings at St. George’s. Before Easter everyone hears again with an invitation to the Reunion, which, properly held on Easter Mondays, has its beginnings for many on the Saturday before, The Reunion of 1946 was one of Thanksgiving for mercies during the war and the Address was given by the Chairman, Major Le G. G. W. Horton-Fawkes. In 1947 the War Memorial Tablet to the five old boys was unveiled by the President and Hon. Treasurer, Lt. Col. Sir William Ingilby  and the address was given by the Rev. A. Edwards-Beswick, Hon. C.F., R.A., Ch.D. The War Memorial Tablet was the outcome of an Old Girls’ and Boys’ Committee, formed at the 1946 Reunion, with 7 Members, who met periodically at St. George’s and who sent out a circular letter to their comrades asking for subscriptions for the purpose of a Memorial. Over £100 was given thus, and when the Tablet had been paid for, the old girls and boys bought 3 Radio sets for the children’s rooms, and some sports equipment. The Jubilee Reunion in 1948 was one of thankfulness for God’s goodness through Miss Gurney and St. George’s House.

Various outstanding traditions and customs characterise St. George’s House as they do every school and especially every residential school in the Country. With many other similar institutions St. George’s has been honoured since 1911 by having King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI as Patrons.

                                                                                                  
The Specialists and Doctors, who from time to time have seen the children, have always generously given their services. Among them we would mention Mr. Herbert Franklin, C.B.E., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., Mr. C. D’Oyly Grange, F.R.C.S., Mr. T. Vibert Pearce, M.D., F.R.C.S., Mr. A. B. Pavey-Smith, M. B., F. R. C. S., and Mr. T. Gowans, F. R. C. S., who himself was a boy at school at St. George’s College before Miss Gurney bought it in 1897. The work of M. O. H. for St. George’s was most ably filled from 1898 to 1939 by Dr. Crawford Watson. Dr. W. Yeoman joined him as M.O.H. in 1926 and for some years before Dr. Watson’s death in 1939 and ever since he has been a kind and capable friend to the children in illness. The children’s teeth are attended to by Mr. Winter of Messrs. Wood and Winter of Harrogate. Mr Winter comes twice every year for dental inspection and has been attending to the children’s teeth since before 1926.

S
t. George’s House Sports Day is now well known. The first Sports Day was held on July 20th 1929 and the programme was prepared and carried through and the prizes provided by the City of Bradford Police Athletic Association, by kind permission of the Chief Constable at that time, Mr. Joseph Farndale. Every year since then our good friends at Bradford have done the same and now jealously guard Sports Day as “their” day for the children of St. George’s By the generosity of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club Association to large silver cups were bought, to be competed for as Championship Cups, and the first name on each cup is Rita Smith and John Walmsley, both, as it happens from the Lancashire Constabulary. Major General Sir Llewelyn W. Atcherley presented the prizes on the first Sports Day. Many silver cups and trophies have been given since. Each girl and boy belongs to one of three Houses---Gurney, Fawkes, Ingilby (and it is not difficult to see why those names have been chosen) and on Sports Day the House Cup is given as well as the individual Cups for Sports, Gym, Swimming, Scouts and Guides etc.

From the very start of this Story of St. George’s it will have been sensed by a careful reader that both as the Northern Police Orphanage and as St. George’s House, the work has had the uplift of an enthusiastic and altruistic Committee led by keen and capable Chairmen. There has always been unanimity and a spirit of definite enjoyment and pleasure prevailing at the meetings of the Committee, and no pains have ever been spared as regards any act of progress or development for any child or for the children as a whole. Their careers, when they have left, are closely watched, and every help is given to them, including financial help in the form of an Apprentice
Grant, when necessary. Thus we find that education is furthered by every possible means and advanced education put within the reach of any boy or girl capable of using it. In the  very few cases of bad illness no expense has been considered too large for any treatment desired by the doctor or surgeon. The spirit of Miss Gurney has passed into her work and the ruling thought of every Committee Member is a child of a Police Officer in need, a child whose circumstances are such that he or she is one whom the home life, education facilities and material comforts at St. George’s  can benefit.  The Committee has always felt that the fatherless child and the one deprived of both parents have first claim on their sympathies, then the motherless children have made their very definite plea and received help. The majority of resident children have always had a parent living.

In another direction too has Miss Gurney’s spirit lived on. It will be remembered the work at St. George’s arose out of a night of definite prayer, and that spirit of prayer for each child and about the plans for the organisation has been the  unseen mainspring of the whole work. That spirit of prayer has enabled many a boy and girl to overcome difficult habits, to fight successfully against temptation and to lay the foundation of a good and unselfish character. It has led many a boy or girl to the right career and has opened the way before them. It has guided many a one to Christ Himself. In very truth “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of "
.
                                                                

                                                                           
                                                              Miss Evelyn Mainwaring Knocker.
 

Editor's footnote: following text, per courtesy of Bob Carswell. Author.

Following in his father’s footsteps Llewelyn W. Atcherley was originally commissioned in the East Lancashire Regiment in 1890, however, about four years later he chose to transfer to the Royal Army Service Corps. In the early days, promotions could be bought and sold in the armed forces and being a member of the RASC was often seen as a solution for gentlemen of little means. Generally, to the aristocracy, it was considered a dull place to end up. But, it certainly was not that for the Major General who found himself on the Ashanti Expedition in 1895-96 followed by the Boer War in South Africa 1899-1902 as he rose through the lower commissioned ranks.

In between the two events, he came home to marry Eleanor Francis Micklethwaite, the daughter of Richard Michelthwaite, a Justice of the Peace. They settled at Fulford Villa, in Fulford, York.  By 1905,
after 15 years in the army, he had had enough of the RASC  and he had seen enough of war to satisfy him, or so he thought. Retiring as a colonel in the RASC in 1905, he took up a job as Chief Constable for Shropshire, but he retained his rank in the reserve. Home for his family at that point in their lives was still Fulford Villa at Fulford, Yorkshire.  By the year he retired from the army, his twin sons had been born and he was needed more at home than off on some expedition into the unknown looking for an enemy that really had little to do with what was happening in Yorkshire. Born in 1865 he was only forty when he became Chief Constable of Shropshire, a place that had been home to him.
The job suited him. In 1908, as he watched his young lads grow, he took over as Chief Constable of the West Riding of Yorkshire, a post he held until 1919 even though he returned to regular service in 1914 when war was declared and remained there until it was over. During WWI, he was Deputy Adjutant and Quartermaster General, V Corps, from April 1915 until June 1916.
In 1917 he was equivalent to the modern-day Salvage Controller at the War Office.
In 1918 he was promoted to the rank of Major General. On return to his previous job in Yorkshire in 1919
which he had also held in absence throughout the war, he was appointed as His Majesty’s Inspector of the Constabulary for Northern England.

 

Throughout his military career, this self-made man earned considerable respect and recognition of his country. In 1925 he was created a Knight Bachelor already having been appointed KCMG, otherwise known as the Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, an order recognising chivalry and the KCVO or the Knight Commander of the Victorian Order. Having served in the Ashanti Expedition, the Boer War and WWI he was entitled to wear the Queen’s medal with six clasps, the King’s Medal with two clasps and the Ashanti Star in addition to wearing the Victorian Order, established by Queen Victoria in 1896. In addition to these obvious awards, he was also twice mentioned in dispatches during the South African campaign as part of Lord Kitchener’s staff at Pretoria. After retirement, he died in 1954 at the age of eighty-five, having lived a good long life through a period of four military actions, the last of which he had to live through the lives of his twin sons Richard & David, whose individual successes made him immensely proud.

They both gained recognition in the RAF and were highly decorated for their achievements,  they ended their careers with the rank/title of:  Air Marshal Sir Richard Atcherley and Air Vice Marshal David Atcherley.

                                                               
                 
Maj.Gen.Sir L.W.Atcherley
                              Air Vice Marshal David Atcherley          Air Marshal Sir Richard Atcherley

See web links below for further information:

http://www.rafweb.org/Biographies/AtcherleyR.htm  
http://www.rafweb.org/Biographies/AtcherleyD.htm  

                                                                           

                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                  

                                                                           
                     

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