HISTORY OF EASTWOOD PARK & THE BOMBED VILLAGE

HISTORY OF EASTWOOD PARK & THE BOMBED VILLAGE

Eastwood Park is associated with the Jenkinson family whose pedigree starts with Anthony Jenkinson of Bristol, the companion of Sebastian Cabot (1474 to 1557). The descendants of Anthony Jenkinson have all had distinguished careers and the early members of the family were great travellers and seafaring men.

The motto of the Jenkinson family is PAREO NON SERVIO (“I obey, I do not serve”). The Arms and Motto can be seen above the stained-glass window on the main staircase

The former home of the Jenkinson family was the Manor House of Hawkesbury, the property having been acquired by Sir Robert Jenkinson, BT 2nd Earl of Liverpool who was one of the longest serving Prime Ministers from 1812 to 1827 in the early part of the 17th century, but the house was later abandoned and eventually pulled down. The Manor of Hawkesbury, which lies to the east of Wickwar, originally belonged to the Great Benedictine Abbey of Pershore.

The second Baronet married Sarah Tomlins, a descendant of the Venerable Edmund Cranmer, Archdeacon of Canterbury, the younger brother of Archbishop Cranmer.

Sir Charles Jenkinson, Seventh Baronet, First Baron of Hawkesbury, and First Earl of Liverpool bought the Eastwood Estate in the 18th Century. His son, the Second Earl, was Prime Minister of England from 1812 to 1827. The peerage became extinct on the death of the Third Earl in 1851, when the baronetcy developed upon his cousin Sir Charles Jenkinson.

In 1865 Sir George Samuel Jenkinson of Eastwood Park, Falfield, the eldest surviving son of the Right Rev. John Banks Jenkinson, Bishop of St. David’s, succeeded to the family estates of Hawkesbury and Falfield and became Eleventh Baronet. He at once devoted himself to the improvement of the property and subscribed generously to the building of the Church of St George, Vicarage and School (now the Village Hall) at Falfield. He also built the house at Eastwood, having first pulled down a portion of the house there, which the Second Earl of Liverpool had started but never completed. He died in 1892 are is buried in the vault at the west end of Falfield Church Yard.

In 1915 Sir Anthony Banks Jenkinson, Thirteenth Baronet succeeded to the title and the trustees sold the Eastwood Estate to a Mr Tucker, a butcher from Bath.

In 1918 Eastwood Park was purchased by Mr Watts, a Colliery and Shipping owner who sold the estate to a Syndicate Company in 1934. The property was then split up and sold in lots, and in 1935 the Home Office purchased the property. In 1936 “The Civilian Anti Gas School” was opened and a year later the Annexe was built. During the 1939/45 war, the name of the school was changed to “The Ministry of Home Security Air Raid Precautions School”. In 1945 the Home Office loaned the School to the South Western Police District and it became the No.7. District Police Training Centre.

In 1949 it was handed back to the Home office and Civil Defence Courses were resumed. Such courses continued until 1968 when Civil Defence was put on a care and maintenance basis.

In 1969 the property was acquired by the Department of Health and Social Security to provide a National Residential Course Centre for all Engineering staff in the National Health Service and the courses commenced on the 16th February 1970.

In 1997 Fujitsu Services (Formally ICL International Computers Ltd) bought the training centre from the NHS and in 2003 ownership passed to Eastwood Park Ltd after a management buyout. Today Eastwood Park is not only a leading specialist training provider for healthcare engineering, estates and facilities management but is also available for Conferences, Events and Weddings.

For more information on the various training, they offer go to www.eastwoodparktraining.co.uk and for Conferences, Events and Weddings go to www.eastwoodpark.co.uk

THE BOMBED VILLAGE

THE BOMBED VILLAGE

Civil Defence Training School at Eastwood Park
A bit of History:

The Civilian Anti Gas School was set up at Eastwood in 1936. During World War 2 the establishment became the Ministry of Home Security Air Raid Precaution School. During this period, the Civil Defence Training Site was built as a copy of a village straddling a street. In 1945, the School was loaned to the South Western Police as a training centre.

The Home Office resumed possession in 1949 to run courses on civil defence in the event of nuclear war. The warzone was re-modelled to emulate a settlement progressively damaged by a nuclear explosion, with varying degrees of damage according to distance from the blast. The courses continued until 1968.

Eastwood House - Civil Defence Training School

The following year the UK’s Civil Defence Corp was disbanded.
The Home Office relinquished ownership of Eastwood Park and the site was cleared.

The text below and pictures on this page are displayed with the permission of Bart Barrell whose father George Frederick Barrell was the Ministry of Works Engineer at the Home Office Civil Defence School from 1957 until it closed in 1967 but stayed on to look after the site on a care and maintenance basis.  In 1969 the site was acquired by the Department of Health and Social Security to provide a National Training Centre for Hospital Engineering and courses commenced on the 16th February 1970.  Bart’s father stayed on in the same role until he retired. On the 27th of February 1979, he was awarded the Imperial Service Medal. Eastwood Park was an 18th-century mansion set in 100 acres of manicured parkland.  It was the home of the Jenkinson family and was taken over by the Home Office in 1935.  In 1936 the Civilian Anti Gas School was opened where people were trained to deal with mustard gas and the like. During WW2 it was renamed “The Ministry of Home Security Air Raid Precautions School”. Afterward the war it became a police training school and then in 1949, it reverted to a Civil Defence School.

Hidden from view at the back of the site was something called “The Range”.  It was a village built as if it had been on the outskirts of a nuclear explosion where exercises were held to train people in search and rescue and first aid.  The photograph below was from when the site was opened in 1947. In the 1950s when we came to live there much more debris had been added.  For example, a steam train was lying near the end of the road and on the hill above a “crashed” Gloster Meteor Jet with an ejection seat nearby was displayed. You can just see this aeroplane at the top of the postcard below.  The “Range” is at the top left-hand corner.

Later, more modern houses were added in front to the trees at the back of the photograph above.  These were built to test radiation through walls etc and to see if you were safer hiding under the bed or the kitchen table!  I remember that at the time one of the red top newspapers got hold of the story and made a fuss about the houses being built.  I cannot remember but there must have been a housing shortage, and these were not built to live in?

Bombed Village 1949

Once or twice a week there were training exercises.  Groups of people from industry etc would come on a short residential course.  Exercises were commenced with an explosion made up from “thunder flashes”.  My father had constructed a mushroom cloud generator out of old oil drums and oil.  When the “bomb” went off a nuclear mushroom cloud rose realistically above Eastwood Park.  What people driving along the adjacent A38 between Bristol and Gloucester thought I don’t know! 

Bombed Village

 Next door to where we lived in the old farm “Bothy” was a large green painted corrugated iron vehicle shed full of “Green Goddess” army fire engines. When the bomb went off and the sirens started these green goddesses would pour out and drive to the range where people buried under the rubble were wailing. Rescued survivors and “homeless and wandering” were taken to an old army hutted camp on-site and treated and given refreshments! 

On larger exercises when the army was involved real amputees were realistically made up with missing limbs and bits hanging off them.  You got used to this.  If you went down to the bar at night and passed a man with his arm hanging off, you just said “evening”.  Walking back at night a soldier with a rifle would step out of the shadows and inform you that you had just walked through a “minefield”.

German V2 Flying Bomb & Tallboy

In addition to the Civil Defence Training, there was an extensive Bomb Museum.  I am not sure what this was exactly used for but there was training in incendiary bombs. This building housed every type of bomb used in WW2 with some in section.  Outside were the bombs too large to fit inside.  A German V1 flying bomb (in photo), a German V2 rocket, a Tallboy 12,000lb bomb (in photo), and a blockbuster.  When the school opened these looked like they were situated at the front of the mansion house in this picture showing a typical rural scene! It was my father’s job to raise the flag on this flagpole every morning and lower it at night.

Students in their gas masks, 1930s (Eastwood Park) (Image: Bristol Post)

In 1968 Civil Defence was wound down and the site mothballed.  My father stayed on to look after the site on a care and maintenance basis. Living in splendid isolation in a 100-acre site with a large mansion he used to be referred to as the “Baron of Falfield”.  

In 1969 the site was acquired by the Department of Health and Social Security to provide a National Training Centre for Hospital Engineering and courses commenced on the 16th February 1970.  My father stayed on in the same role until he retired. On the 27th of February 1979, he was awarded the Imperial Service Medal.

Footnote:

The old army hutted camp has now been demolished and outline planning permission has been granted to the current owners of Eastwood for 20 dwellings.

George Frederick Barrell along with his wife Marjorie are buried in St George’s Churchyard

The production and updating of information on this page is compiled on a voluntary basis. If you should find any errors or omissions please contact us by using the contact page

This page was last updated on: Feb 5, 2022 @ 6:59 am

The production and updating of information on this page is compiled on a voluntary basis. If you should find any errors or omissions please contact us by using the contact page
This page was last updated on: Feb 5, 2022 @ 6:59 am