Saturday, July 02, 2011

George Forsdike | Memories of Shrubland Hall

An archived post from the (now-defunct) Shrubland Revisited website... 


Contributed on 3rd March 2008
My wife and I moved to Shrubland in November 1950. This was the start of a very happy period of our lives. My job was in the glasshouses of the market garden department.
A couple of years on the head gardener left and I was given the sole charge of the market garden, the pleasure gardens were to looked after as a seperate unit, this was in the days of Eric’s (Lord de Saumarez ) grandmother.
Soon after the title passed to Eric’s father Victor. When the Hall was to become a Health Clinic the market garden became redundant as the glasshouses were becoming delapidated and a sale was arranged to sell them along with the market garden equipment. This of course left me without a job but I was offered the chance to restore the pleasure gardens to their former glory as they had been badly neglected and needed to be pulled into shape before the opening of the Clinic. This was a job that I enjoyed but I didn’t wan’t to do it long term. Meanwhile the walled garden was being neglected and I suggested to my wife that if we could rent the walled garden we could maybe achieve our secret dream of running our own chrysanthemum nursery. This was an exciting prospect for us when an agreement to rent was reached although my landlord at that time, now Victor ( Lord de Saumarez ) had doubts as to whether we would succeed. To prove all the pundits wrong we were determined to succeed and our venture lasted 41 years uuntil we retired in 1999.
Sandra, who lived in the garage flat when she was a schoolgirl will now know what happened to the Forsdike’s.
Cats and Chrysanthemums
To record my very happy memories of our almost 50 years at Shrubland I wrote an account of our time there. Eric who was now the present ( Lord de Saumarez ) very kindly wrote the foreword for the book which is called ‘Cats & Chrysanthemums’ ISBN 1-898-85-5 available to order at all GOOD bookshops on the print on demand system or from myself at Flat 4, Rosemount, 11 Hamilton Gardens, Felixstowe, IP11 7ET
We were lucky enough to meet many well known people who used to visit us when they came to stay at the clinic. One man in particular, Bryan Izzard, a TV producer used to visit us twice a year, he urged me to write this book, don’t just talk about he said, get on and do it. I lost touch with him before the book was published. Anyone know where he is now?
Mr Brookman and the man who knew all
After reading Janice Whittle’s memories, more names have come to mind.
I remember the Waspe family. Frank worked in the forestry department where a Mr Mackenzie was head forester. Harry Waspe and Bill Smith worked in the market garden when I first went to Shrubland. When I took charge of the market garden I don’t think those two old timers took to kindly to taking orders from a comparative youngster. Ernie Waspe was the village postman, so punctual on his round that you could tell the time by him. About that time there was a Charlie Mayhew who worked with a horse and cart keeping the estate clear of rubbish and who remembers Fred Puncher, the chauffeur. The butler’s name I think was Brookman and the cook whose name for the moment escapes me, she died three or four years ago aged 100. The farm manager around that time was a Mr Geater.
The Sorrel Horse pub opposite the main entrance to the park was a favourite place with the employees of Shrubland, a real spit and sawdust pub as Sandra described it.
Old Tom was the landlord, he was a mine of information, what he didn’t know wasn’t worth knowing. How things have changed over the last 50 Years.
I hope this will jog the memories of some of the people who knew us and the pictures will remind people of what went on within the walled garden
George Forsdike
Update 7th March 2008
I have now remembered the name of the cook, she was a Mrs Horton I have also discovered that Bryan Izzard, the TV Producer who used to visit us when he stayed at the clinic, died on the 27th April 2006.

George Forsdike’s Photographs
Click on a photo for a larger version