The Hollies Children’s Home
Reunion Group is inviting people to attend
its annual reunion in Sidcup
The Hollies Children's Home in Sidcup looked after
orphaned and vulnerable children for more than 87 years before closing
its doors in 1989. Reporter KELLY SMALE speaks to a former resident who
has set up a reunion group to find old friends.
PAUL Krawczynski set up The Hollies Children’s Home Reunion Group with his wife Barbara in 2002 and is appealing for people to come forward.
Through the group Mr Krawczynski has already found three former friends who he regularly sees and speaks to. Mr Krawczynski said: "Over the past 10 years we have reunited many friends from as far back as the 1930s.
"Our eldest member to attend the reunions is now 95 years old so you have a great chance to find friends.
"We have had former Hollies kids attend from as far away as Australia, France and the USA."
He added: "We have also helped so many people seeking information on their relatives that spent time in the home and helped our members obtain their files from their time in care."
The Hollies, also known as The Lamorbey Children’s Home and Lamorbey Residential School, was built in 1902 in Burnt Oak Lane, Sidcup. It had 24 large houses for the children named after trees such as Larch, Poplar, Pine, Palm and Rowan. They were arranged around a green and had the relevant tree planted in front of each house.
A school, hospital, swimming pool, laundry and boiler room were also on the site.
It is now a sought after area to live with many of the buildings remaining unchanged on the outside.
Mr Krawczynski, who now lives in Norfolk, joined the home aged three in 1951 and left when he was 16. He said: "I loved it. In my cottage there were 20 children. "A lot of them you didn't know by surname because you became like brothers and sisters.
"You got this sort of bondship, which I know still lives on today."
He added: "It's the comradeship that you had in the home.
"We weren't such poor little orphans. The kids locally came to our swimming pool and they all wanted to be invited to our bonfire night."
Famous faces who also attended the children's home include boxing legend Chris Eubank and presenter of TV quiz show Fifteen to One, William G. Stewart.
The annual reunion, now in its 10th year, will take place at the site of the former children's home from 10am to 5pm on September 8.
7 July 2012