Garth Nursery, Dolgellau, Gwynedd

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Date:1942 - 1949 (c.)

Description:During the Second World War, younger children in Erdington Cottage Homes were evacuated out of the city to a Youth Hostel in North Wales (known as Kings Nursery). The evacuation took place in 1941.

According to Joan Whittingham, who worked at the nursery in Erdington Cottage Homes and who went with the children when they were evacuated, they moved out of Kings Nursery and into what became known as Garth Nursery in August 1942:

“Lord Saumerez (originally from the Channel Islands) had a stately home near to the Youth Hostel. He was very taken with the one who was running things as such a good job was being done and wrote to Birmingham City Council who gave permission for the children and staff to move into part of his home for the duration of the war. This enabled another party of children to be evacuated from the city.”
From Joan Whittingham’s memories (as recorded by Penny Jennings)

The building officially opened as a residential nursery on 17th August 1942.

The building, now known as Garth Angharad Manor is still surrounded by woodland as it was when it was used as a nursery, is still standing (at the time of writing in 2010) in Penmaenpool near Dolgellau.

In 1948, it was known as Garth Residential Nursery School and had accommodation for 30 children, but only 16 were in residence – 1 two year old, 8 three year olds and 7 four year olds.

The lease on Garth was due to expire in 1951. However, because of its distance from the city, it was decided to close it in September 1949 and the children were brought back to Birmingham.

Image: Joan Whittingham at Garth Nursery between 1942 and 1946, reproduced with the kind permission of Penny Jennings.
Source: This history was compiled by the Birmingham Children's Homes Project, an initiative to explore Birmingham City Council-run children’s homes between 1949 and 1990.