Hitchin care home thanks public for historic timeline help

PUBLISHED: 09:50 01 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:50 01 July 2020

An old photograph of the Foxholes Care Home building. Picture: Supplied

An old photograph of the Foxholes Care Home building. Picture: Supplied

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A Hitchin care home has been hunting down the history of its storied 163-year-old building, which has previously served the community as a maternity ward, Catholic boarding house and nursing home.

Roman-era pottery that was found at the Foxholes Care Home site by the Lucas family. Picture: North Herts MuseumRoman-era pottery that was found at the Foxholes Care Home site by the Lucas family. Picture: North Herts Museum

In April, Foxholes Care Home launched its ‘history hunt’ – whereby the care home was on the lookout for stories, information and photos that would shed light on its central building that dates back to the 1850s.

Foxholes launched the appeal for information in the hope of finally completing its timeline, so it can create a book on the history of Foxholes and a special ‘wall of memory’ in the home that tells everyone’s story.

Roman-era artifacts found at Foxholes in the 19th century. Picture: SuppliedRoman-era artifacts found at Foxholes in the 19th century. Picture: Supplied

Now, the care home say they have been inundated with information, and are thanking the public for their contribution to the building’s timeline.

From 1857, the building on Pirton Road started life as a Manor House for Quaker William John Lucas and his family.

Members of the Catholic Boarding School in the 1960s. Picture: SuppliedMembers of the Catholic Boarding School in the 1960s. Picture: Supplied

North Hertfordshire Museum got in touch with Foxholes to reveal they have a collection of Roman–era objects that were excavated from the kitchen garden by the Lucas family.

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The artefacts include knives, jewellery, pottery and cutlery.

From 1939 to 1951, the building served as a maternity ward for Hitchin and the surrounding area.

Bernie Cotton, who was born at the maternity ward on July 5, 1948, has shared his story with Foxholes and explained that his mother, Helen, now resides at the home.

Neil Gandecha, estate manager at Foxholes, said: “The responses we’ve received since launching the appeal for information have been astonishing.

“So many people from the Hitchin area have got in touch to share their stories, and we’ve even had information sent in from as far afield as Switzerland and California!

“From this, we’ve managed to paint a clearer picture of how the building has been used over the past 163 years, and have pulled together a timeline of key dates. However, we still need to fill in some of the missing pieces.”

“Please keep sending in your connections to Foxholes. It can be an image of you, a relative or a friend in the building, or a story on your connection with it.

“We’ve received old photographs and birth certificates which has been really helpful in pulling the pieces together. So please keep them coming!”


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