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

 




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North meets South 
                             St George's orphans meet the Southern Provincial Police orphans.

The Gurney Day Celebrations held at St Andrew's on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 was special for three reasons.

Firstly: it marked the 60th Anniversary of the closing of the Southern Provincial Police Orphanage (SPPO), Redhill, Surrey.

Secondly: it marked the occasion when a new headstone was unveiled at Miss C. Gurney's grave and a new Gurney Rose Garden dedicated, at St Andrew's, featuring the old headstone.

Thirdly: it brought about a meeting for the first time, between the old boys & girls of St George's House, Harrogate, (North), and their counterparts from the SPPO, Redhill, Surrey ,(South).Both organisations had originated through the efforts of Catherine Gurney  and whilst they had known of one another for many years, the opportunity and reason to actually meet had never presented itself, until this day.  In talking to one another about Orphanage life they soon discovered that their experiences ran a parallel and similar course. Visit  www.redhill-reigate-history.com
to read about the history of SPPO. 

                                    
                                    
St Andrew's, Harlow Moor Road, Harrogate

A group of St George's Old Boys & Girls, including spouses, attended the Commemorative afternoon. They met with other guests from and representing, Christian Police Association, Trustees of The Gurney Fund, Trustees of Flint House (the Police Rehabilitation Centre at Goring-on-Thames, Oxon) St Andrew's and The St George's Police Trust.
Earlier in the day, Sheila Stephenson, representing the St George's Old Boys & Girls, was interviewed at York Radio studios to explain the background to the day's events. Later a  photographer and reporter from the Yorkshire Post attended the function to cover the story of Catherine Gurney and the organisations she created.
SPPO were well represented, with about 20 Old Boys and Girls along with their spouses having made the journey to attend the ceremony.

                                                                  
                             
Robin Field-Smith, H.M. Inspector of Constabulary, addresses the visitors to St Andrew's

Chairs were placed by the Gurney Rose Garden and everyone was welcomed by the Chief Executive Officer of St Andrew's, Michael Baxter, QPM, BA (Hons), MCIPD and Robin Field-Smith, H.M. Inspector of Constabulary.  Paul Upham of the Gurney Fund gave a short address, explaining the purpose of the event and told everyone about the new Gurney Rose Garden and the old headstone from Miss Gurney's grave at All Saints, Harlow Hill, Harrogate, which had been donated to St Andrew's by the Trustees of the Gurney Fund and relocated to the Rose Garden. A new headstone had been erected on Miss Gurney's grave a few days before. Two further speakers, a Trustee of Flint House and Don Axcell, Director of the Christian Police Association, then explained the significance of Miss Catherine Gurney and the important role she had played in all the organisations represented there on the day.

After a buffet lunch, a special cake was cut by the the eldest old boy's from SPPO and St George's, they were Tom (aged 87) who had left SPPO in 1935 and Arthur Boschi (aged77) from St George's.

                             
                
The Group, taken at St Andrew's                                            The two oldest old boys, cutting the cake

                             
                 A quiet walk through All Saints, Harrogate                                The original headstone, now located at St Andrews

    
                   
         The new Rose Garden Plaque    The new headstone       Some of the St George's group visiting St Andrew's

 

                                                                                      
                                                                        Elsie Gale & Sheila Stephenson at St Andrew's
                

 

             

              After talking about their experiences and thoughts about St George's and the SPPO, it was discovered that whilst the
              old boys and girls were aware of one another, each knew little about the other's organisation, even though their lives 
              and routines were very similar.

              The SPPO old boys and girls recalled the 6.30am cold dips in the Redhill Swimming Pool and one remembered the canings
              he received from his Superintendent Mr L.W.Terry-Jupp. 
              The type and quantity of food served in both establishments appeared to be similar too.

              At the end of the function and after thanking their hosts, the St George's group visited All Saints Church, where they
              paid their respects to Miss Gurney. They viewed her grave (a red rose bush had been placed on the grave the previous
              day)  and new headstone, after which it was time for farewells and the return trip home, all agreed that the day had
              been one that was both moving and well worthwhile.


     

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Deus vult

                                         Email contact: stgeorgesharrogate@gmail.com