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Oral History Project...


Croome Before the National Trust is a project undertaken by the Friends, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The main aim of this Oral History Project is to record Croome's relatively little known history in the twentieth century before the National Trust began the restoration of the Park in 1996.

Much is known about Lancelot “Capability” Brown, Robert Adam, James Wyatt and the 6th Earl of Coventry and their creation of Croome in the eighteenth century, but, until now, those who worked in the Court and on the Estate in the first half of the twentieth century have not had their voices heard nor their experiences recorded. Similarly, RAF Defford, adjacent to Croome, was home to large numbers of personnel from the three services during the Second World War who played a vital role in the development of RADAR; they, too, have a hitherto untold story to tell. These and other voices from the post-war history of Croome can now be heard as they tell us how they lived, worked and played.

We have produced a booklet, titled Croome before the National Trust, Please click here to download a pdf copy of the booklet.

In addition as part of the project two CD's were made called The Voices of Croome, you can listen to them from here, just click the links below.

CD 1

1. Introduction Eileen Clement explains all about the Croome Voices Oral History Project

2. Croome between the wars John Henderson introduces some of the people who worked below stairs at Croome Court and on the Croome Estate in the 1920s and 30s. Lady Maria Coventry talks about growing up at Croome.

3. Estate and Farming - Eileen Clement presents stories of farming and fruit growing at Croome’s farms in the 1920s and 30s.

4. Horses and HuntingJohn Henderson takes a gallop through the decades with personal memories of the Croome Hunt.

5. Building the Aerodrome The start of Word War Two heralded many changes at Croome. Eileen Clement hears from those who gained jobs and those who lost them.

6. RAF DeffordJohn Henderson charts the war years form the perspectives of those who served at RAF Defford and those who lived locally and made the most of having the RAF on their doorstep.

7. Women’s Land Army - Eileen Clement finds out what it was like to come to Croome as a farm girl without any previous knowledge of the countryside.

CD 2

1. St Joseph’s SchoolFrom stately home to special school, John Henderson charts the momentous changes at Croome Court after the end of World War Two.

2. School Days at CroomeEileen Clement introduces some of the pupils and teachers who lived at Croome between the 1950s and the 1970s.

3. M5 and the Park Croome park survived the many momenteous changes in the 60s and 70s as John Henderson relates.

4. The Hare KrishnasEileen Clements discovers how Croome became Chaitanya College in 1979, home to about 200 Hare Krishna devotees.

5. Post Krishna CroomeJohn Henderson explains Croome’s fortunes in the 80s and 90s from hotel to training centre to private home.

6. Croome WeddingsCroome has been the venue for many special occasions over the years as Eileen Clement discovers.

The Friends of Croome would like to hear from anyone else with Memories or stories of Croome.