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Hinwick Hall Boys Home
early picture Hinwick Hall
Before the front gardens were laid out
Hinwick Hall

In 1942 The Shaftesbury Society purchased the building and it became the first residential school in the country for physically handicapped boys. By 1956 there were 46 boys, with three teachers.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 9th January 1948, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Buffs Came on 12th Night - Gifts and Party for Hinwick Boys

Members of the R.A.O.B., Northants Province, which embraces Wellingborough, Rushden, Irthlingborough, Finedon, Earls Barton and Bozeat, visited Hinwick Hall on Tuesday afternoon to give the lads gifts of books for the New Year in connection with their Twelfth Night Party.

The whole of the party was arranged by the R.A.O.B., and consisted of games, competitions, etc., and a tea.

In the evening the crippled boys and staff at the Home enjoyed a concert, in which the artistes were Mr. W. Foxwell (Coventry), ventriloquist and comedy juggler, who also compered the show, the Versatile Trio (Kettering). Mr. Billy Murdin (Wellingborough), conjuror; Zena, who showed the possibilities of the piano-accordion; Mr. Jack Willis (Wellingborough), baritone; and Mr. Billy Munns (Earls Barton), pianoforte solos.

Miss Joan French was the accompanist, and also played popular numbers to lead community singing.

A number of Wellingborough ladies acted as helpers, so that the staff could enjoy the party.

The novelty feature of the entertainment was a quiz, conducted by Mr. F. March, of Wellingborough. In this the members of the R.A.O.B. and helpers came on to the platform and, much to their surprise, they found the boys were asking them the questions, and it was often with difficulty that they found the answers: in fact sometimes they failed in their task. Each boy who beat the experts received a prize.

The questions asked by the boys showed great intelligence, and the educational standard was a credit to the teaching staff.

Mr. A. E. Streeton, Past Prov. Grand Prime of Earls Barton, presented the books, and thanks were voiced by the Master, Mr. E. Riding.

There was never a dull moment during the whole of the five hours' show.

The Hinwick Hall - where the Shaftesbury Society has been caring for students for many years - finally closed its doors back in July, 2014.

There were 180 staff and a team of volunteers looking after the 50 students at the time of closure. The buildings are now on the market for a price tag in excess of £3 million.

The first students came to the Grade 2 listed Hall, near Podington in 1943, and over the last 70 years it has been operated by a company called Livability.

Reasons given for the closure have been quoted as cuts in public spending and the falling student income.

Paul Wright

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