September 1st 1939 saw about 110 girls assembled in the gym, each carrying a rucksack and a gas mask. At 9.30 the long procession of children and mistresses set out for Park Station. From here they travelled by non-stop train to Hawarden. The party walked to the village school where each child was allotted to a hostess. The three FCJs were billeted in the Poor Clare Convent. Mother Abbess got permission from the Bishop for the Holt Hill party to enter the enclosure for Sunday Mass.

Initially classes were held in two large rooms in the Convent, but later the more senior Holt Hill girls joined other evacuees at the County School near by.

At Christmas, all the evacuees returned home and Holt Hill reopened in January.

A Classroom at Holt Hill, c1905

From July 1940 onwards there were continual air raids. In December they were in the basement shelter from 7 pm to 6 am for four consecutive nights. On the night of December 21st, an incendiary bomb fell on the house, luckily the bomb fell in the little yard outside St Aloysius' garden and did no damage.

On Friday September 12th 1941 the community was told it was to disperse. Elderly, infirm and any sisters not directly concerned with the school, were to go to Sedgley, those concerned with the school were to go to Upton. That night they prayed together as a community for the last time in the Holt Hill Chapel.

The community never returned to Holt Hill, the Sisters catching the bus from Upton to Holt Hill each morning, but the Holt Hill community retained its identity though living with the community at Upton.

A Grotto in the Grounds of Holt Hill, c1905

 

War Years

Can You Help?

Do you have any pictures of Holt Hill Convent, or of events at Holt Hill Convent?

Do you have any documents, newspaper cuttings or other information relating to Holt Hill Convent?

Do you have any stories about Holt Hill Convent?

If you do, please contact me by e-mail at frank@upton.cx