Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday April 30th
Young people from the School of Evangelisation at St Patrick's, Soho Square, were at Westminster Cathedral for the Chrism Mass in Holy Week with the idea of showing support for priests - and a team of us from the Association of Catholic Women had had the same idea and we joined forces with great joy : at last week's ACW committee meeting we enjoyed pix of the event and we will certainly be returning next year. Henry from The School of Evangelisation has now sent me a nice note (see COMMENTS to this blog) asking that I publicise their blog, which I gladly do. I have been invited to give a talk at St Patrick's later this term and am looking forward to it.


Yesterday a delightful visit to my old school, St Philomena's in Carshalton. Well, not officially a visit to the the grounds is a magnificent and unique water-tower, built by a former owner of the property, Sir John Fellowes, in the early 18th century. (He made a great deal of money from the South Sea Bubble scheme, bought Carshalton House and lived there in some style...much later, it was bought by the Daughters of the Cross, and they founded a school there in the 1890s). Cycling past the Tower, on my way to meet Mother for a walk and cup of tea, I saw a notice announcing that it was Open to the Public (admission 75p!) of course we went there.

Oh, nostalgia...the main room, which was originally an orangery, was the room where I first attended school: oh, I remember a rocking-horse, and little blue tables and chairs...and dear Miss Gibbons, who presided over the Kingergarten...and next door was the next class, called Transition, with Sister Mary Kevin in charge...

But what I hadn't known was that this unique building housed a magnificent water-pumping system, used to pipe the clear fresh water from one of Carshalton's many springs. There is a superb tiled bathroom, each tile hand-painted, and with steps going down to a glorious deep bath - it would be so enjoyable to have a swim in it! Of course all this was boarded over when we children ate our (horrid, horrid) lunches in that room years ago.

The nice volunteers in charge invited me to contribute memories for their Newsletter, which I'll do with pleasure. My memories of the Tower are, apart from the nasty meals, very happy ones. There is now a group called the Friends of Carshalton Water Tower (136 West St, Carshalton SM5 2NR tel 020 8 647 0984). The whole building has been beautifully restored - the Orangery is not unlike the one at Kensington Palace and it really is well worth seeing and the whole place be hired out for sociual functions etc. I do most warmly recommend it.


Anonymous said...

Oh come on! Those lunches weren't that bad!!!! I remember wanting more and being the "dustbin" of the others sitting at the table! Seriously though, I remember climbing to the top of the tower and turned the key of the door at the top. It opened on to the top of the tower and it was exhiarating to stand up there knowing how forbidden it was!! I think my friend Claire was with me and I have never forgotten it!

Anonymous said...

The Friends of Carshalton Water Tower are delighted that Joanna is going to give a talk on English Traditional Feasts and Seasons in the Water Tower, West Street, Carshalton, on Friday 26th September, commencing at 8.00 pm. Also that we will have the opportunity to buy her fascinating book on the subject.

Jean Knight, Chairman of the Friends