Where Are You Now?

In the course of my eight years’ work in residential child care during the late 1960s and early 1970s there must have been about 1,200 children in the units for which I was directly responsible. I worked as a Senior Housemaster at Aycliffe Classifying School in County Durham, and then as Superintendent at Olands Assessment Centre in Somerset. Both units were designed to assess children’s needs.

Most of the boys at Aycliffe stayed for only a few weeks while their needs were assessed and they then moved on to their long-term placements in training schools. The girls and boys at Olands stayed for varying lengths of time. Quite a number returned for short visits, perhaps to maintain contact, perhaps to look back on their time with us and to close the assessment episode in their lives, and a few because they were unhappy in their new placements and ran back to us in the hope of an alternative.

But I have heard very little of what happened to them subsequently. I saw one on television in a programme about Strangeways Prison and I have heard of another one or two who may have been at Aycliffe with me.  Otherwise, I have no idea whether our brief encounter was of help, a turning point in their lives, or was another unhappy episode in a difficult childhood.

Recently two or three correspondents with Children Webmag have got in touch to say what an awful time they had had at Middlesex Lodge. They had been there at a time when, as Assistant Director for Residential and Day Services, I carried responsibility for the quality of care which they received. I probably did not meet them, as I was two stages removed from their direct care, but I am still concerned that they found their experiences so unhappy.

Leaving my personal reactions and feelings on one side, there is the more general question about what can be learnt from the experience of former children in care in order to improve current practice. Clearly, things are very different today from the 1960s and 70s; the scale of sexual abuse was not understood then, for example, and drug abuse presented fewer problems. But human nature has not changed and many of the problems faced then may still be current.

There is of course the danger that, in trying to have a dialogue in order to understand what happened then with a view to improving practice, we end up with one group of former children in care being critical and another group of former staff being defensive. That is a risk, but in writing this article it is a risk which I felt is worth taking.


One of the problems with assessment, for example, was that, in trying to match children to placements, we were undertaking an act of faith. We had some, but limited, knowledge of the placements to which we were sending children. Some of the criteria were very clear-cut such as the type, size and location of the home, but others were more nebulous and hard to identify. The matching of individual children, for example, should have been able take account of the atmosphere then current in the group of the children already in the placement, staff personalities, staff changes and so on. Some of those factors changed week by week.

Nor did we have much knowledge of the success of previous placements. In one sense the long-term success can only be known decades later when the former children in care have been adults for some time, for example in work, having got married or having had families – or less happily, having been in prison or suffered mental health problems. We only really knew of the extent to which other children recently placed had settled and were getting on. It would be interesting to know whether the people who experienced care as children felt that the assessment process had helped them.

Secure care

Middlesex Lodge was an unusual establishment in the 1970s-80s, in that it and Cumberlow Lodge were the only two residential homes in London for girls presenting exceptional problems. There were a few who were serious offenders but the majority had a range of problems including difficult family backgrounds and abuse, such that they had reacted with uncontrolled behaviour, tensions at home, running away and truancy. These behaviours often put them at risk, and made them difficult to live with or teach. Mixing these two groups was, of course, in accordance with the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 and the thinking in Care and Treatment in a Planned Environment.

How were social workers to deal with them? There were two main options. The first was to go along with their wishes, hoping that they would settle down in a placement in the open community without causing too many antisocial problems or suffering seriously themselves. The second was to constrain and control their behaviour by locking them up in places such as Middlesex Lodge. Although this is a simplified description of the dilemma concerning thousands of different individuals, there was often no in-between option, as many girls would not accept the lesser limits which children’s homes or foster carers tried to apply to their behaviour.

With greater attention being paid to children’s rights and wishes, some girls in this predicament have been given free rein, particularly in recent years, with the outcome being a sustained period of chaotic behaviour, involving varying combinations of frequent changes of address and partner, sexual exploitation, the start of a criminal record, drug abuse, heavy drinking, risky behaviour and ill health.  It is hard to see that this is preferable to a period of constraint in a secure unit, or that authorities could condone the girls’ anti-social and sometimes criminal behaviour.

Of course, care in a secure unit should be of a high standard, and the cruel treatment described in some of the correspondence should not be condoned. However, in my experience the work of units such as Middlesex Lodge was probably the most difficult anywhere in the Social Services and it was easy to get it wrong.

In managing establishments of this sort it was necessary to be in control while remaining humane and avoiding unacceptable punishments.  This was more easily said than done. Male staff in particular always had to be careful that they did not lay themselves open to allegations, and there was apprehension among the staff around this time when a decision was made that under-16-year-olds could no longer be placed in Holloway. However serious their problems, girls had to be at Middlesex Lodge or Cumberlow Lodge.

It was also around this time that legislation introduced the requirement for Courts to authorise secure unit placements and for secure units to be built. One was attached to Middlesex Lodge, and a corollary was that the existing unit was no longer secure and technically staff could not force girls to remain. This withdrawal of security also left some of the staff feeling insecure.

Physical standards needed to be good. The girls often had experienced – or presented – massive problems as individuals, but they had also to be managed as a group. They were often physically mature and sophisticated in terms of their life experience while still being technically schoolgirls and often being emotionally immature or damaged.

Looking after them as a group sometimes entailed the introduction of institutional measures which were not suited to individualistic adolescent girls. When I arrived in Hillingdon in 1975, Middlesex Lodge would have been described as ‘traditional’ in its approach. The couple in charge had been there many years and had developed ways of running the establishment efficiently, but in a more institutional manner than was by then acceptable. (I recall that one of the minor but symptomatic changes introduced in my time was the use of soft toilet paper.)

In the end the couple was persuaded to take early retirement and a new Principal was appointed, but I am reluctant to be overcritical, as they had given many years of service, and when appointed their practice would no doubt have been at the cutting edge.


So there are many questions which I would pose. Should there have been places like Middlesex Lodge where children were contained? Many more are locked up now than was the case then. Or should girls have been allowed to do as they wished and learn from their experiences – even if that entailed potentially damaging predicaments such as exploitation by pimps and older ‘boyfriends’? Should offenders have been kept separate from the others? From experience I would say that the offenders were often less disturbed. Were there girls who found that their period in secure accommodation provided a thinking space in which they were able to re-appraise their lives? Did assessment offer a turning point in children’s lives? Did their time in assessment centres give them an opportunity to come to understand their predicament, or to gain the confidence to disclose abuse? If these services were bad, what should have been done to put them right? What are the lessons to tell today’s planners, managers and residential child care workers?

Did any of this affect you? If so, would you like to join the dialogue?

87 thoughts on “Where Are You Now?”

  1. i was a girl who was in middlesex lodge and the experience made me alot worse when i came out!!..to have someone watch you on the toilet and bathing was embarassing for us young girls.i witnessed alot of stufff in this place and it still haunts me today. but i tell you this much,if you didn’t fit in with the IN CROWD god help you,some of us had no choice and it made us sick to the stomach to watch what went on,staff turned a blind eye to keep the peace.i for one was glad to get locked in my room of a night,i was safer there or in the paddled cell!!!!!…bet they deny ever havin one of those!!!
    i was 12/13 when i went in there,came out a self harmer but thank god im 44 now and middlesex lodge is closed!!!
    the stories i could tell would make your skin crawl………….

  2. this has brought back the nightmares i was in cumberlow lodge age 13 thank god i was only there for 9 weeks that was to long any way
    what a joke was i told where iwas going no
    i was told that i was going to a farm some bloody farm i am now 50 i have 3 children my self who i have never beaten ectra what gets me realy cross is that i was beaten shouted at all i lernt to do was beat back and shout scream ectra i do not think that this place helped me in any way i was to young to go and i was alowed to smoke they gave me 2 fags a day and yes you smoked because i wanted to be in with the in crowd
    glad the place has shut down well i hope that it has

  3. I spent almost a year at Cumberlow Lodge and then a year later was sent to Middlesex Lodge.
    Yes, they kept me safe from that harm I caused myself.
    But in Cumberlow Lodge I was regularly placed in the detention cell, a small room with its’ window blacked out and only a small crack of light. No access to the toilet, you would be given a waste paper basket to use. They used to turn the heating up full blast to the point that you would feel you were suffocating. They would also disorientate you in the cell by switiching the overhead light on and off every few hours so you lost day and night. On one occasion, after a week of this experience I started to hallucinate. I was just 15 and my ‘crime’ was disturbed behaviours courtesy of my parents sexual abuse of me, amongst other things.
    Then there were the occasions when the deputy superintendant would beat me unconscious – will always remember the flash of light I saw before passing into unconsciousness.
    And then there was the other girl who was left upstairs with asperin when she was having a miscarriage, and the 14 year old who was pushed down the stairs and broke her leg – but wasn’t allowed out to a hospital for 2 days to get it fixed.
    Oh, and not forgetting the forced medication. And the time I was overdosed on chlorpromozine – and the morning after when I was incapable of moving so the staff physically pulled me from my bed and left me lying on the floor.
    Middlesex Lodge wasn’t much better.
    And no, these units really didn’t help me become a better adjusted person.

  4. I was at Middlesex Lodge, because I had run away from my foster parents to live in London with my boyfriend. I thought I was in love at the age of 14, but my boyfriend who was ten years older than me tricked me into drugs and prostitution and I was abandoned in London and raped and abused. Before this time I had left a sheltered life. I was picked up by the police and sent to Middlesex Lodge secure unit, I had no counselling, no one listened to me, all I wanted was to be back in the childrens home that I had grown up in since the age of 5. I did not want to be fostered and separated from my sister in the first place, I was happy at Maygoods Lane childrens home, it was not what you call a happy family home, but a home all the same and all us kids were the same which is why we fitted in there, why disrupt us? No one asked me or my sister ever what we wanted. At Middlesex Lodge, you were mixed with criminals, and all they wanted to do was fight you and you had to fight back or be beaten up, I had scalding hot tea thrown at me by another inmate, and then when I stuck up for myself I was isolated and put in a cell, which was a relief to get away from the bullies. Although I had committed no crime but to runaway, this was a mistake any young teenager could have done. To be locked up, isolated and put in a cell with a load of criminals made my life hell, I could not wait to get out. If someone had spoken to me after I had runaway, I would have told them I wanted to go back to the childrens home I first went to with my sister when I was 5, and would run no more, but no one listened and I spent days in the cell, asking to go in there so I could be alone, as this was the only relief from the regimental routine at Middlesex Lodge, you could sleep and be alone with no one to kick and punch you. The system seemed to think that putting you in a secure unit, protected you, it protected you from pimps and getting into trouble outside, but not from the mental cruelty in the unit. You had one set of clothes, and had to wash your knickers and socks every night and if you had a period, they would log it and you had no supplies except when you asked. They took away your dignity, watching you bath and undress.

  5. I was sent to Middlesex Lodge as it was on it’s way out in 1988. I was moved to the crisis intervention unit on the top floor from another childrens home after a resident had attempted to rape me and I said I didn’t feel safe there anymore.
    The secure unit wasn’t actually operational at the time but was still used occasionally as punishment.
    I was bullied relentlesly by other residents, beaten up, having my room robbed etc etc which the staff deliberately turned a blind eye to. The staff office directly led into the lounge and when they could hear me being bullied, they just shut the door and ignored it.

    Physical abuse by the staff was rife too.

    I will never forget the time I was taken downstairs by my key worker and a male member of staff to have a “chat” , I was in the middle of talking when suddenly he dived on top of me, threw me on the floor and told me to fight him. I remember being completely bewildered and scared but he wouldn’t get off till in the end, I panicked to the point of hysteria where I was thrashing about trying to get him off me, then the female worker dived on top of me too telling me to calm down. It was put down to a “restraint” , a very useful word when explaining the physical abuse of residents.

    Having a bath in front of male staff was no fun either.

    Worse was to come, I was moved from there to Melanie Klien House, also a place with a supposedly defunct secure unit where much worse abuse awaited me, have you investigated there?

    First place to hit the headlines.

    Enough said.

  6. I was also in Middlesex Lodge. 4 months on one occasion, 6 months on the next. I was terrified for the majority of the time I was there and although I was constantly bullied (head bashed against sink every time I tried to brush my teeth, cold water chucked over me daily when I tried to have a bath) by other ‘inmates’, staff did nothing to stop it except put me in the cell for ‘my own good’ ! I didn’t fit in with a group of girls who ruled the roost so I just had to grit my teeth and bear it. My Dad came to visit me on a couple of occasions but my Mum ended up in hospital due to the stress of it all so I didn’t see her for months. I was sent to Miuddlesex Lodge simply because there was no room for me at a suitable childrens home and I had been removed from my adoption parents due to my unruly behaviour. Yes, I was a difficult and unhappy child but how this was meant to help me I do not know. I will never forget the day I arrived there and being asked to strip and wash myself with this horrid lump of green soap while a stranger sat and watched me. Then having all my own clothes and belongings taken away. Does anyone remember the jelly shoes?! They came back in fashion but I won’t be wearing them!

  7. i was at middlesex lodge in 1989 and it wasnt that bad,saying that i was not prepared to take anyones rubbish,i found it quite disturbing that kids who had been mentally and physically abused were put with kids like me who was a persistent offender. i do actually have some good memories. i still see pauline,a social worker who worked there and would love to find brian,i cant remember his surname. sadly i ended up in holloway in 1990 age 16,but i do remember colin about 20 stone of man sitting on me cos i didnt change my sheets on a sunday morning. i had actually done it,long before they asked me,but we used to get the fire extinguisher and smash our way out. on the whole it wasnt that bad!!

  8. I was at Middlesex Lodge possibly at the beginning of 1977. I was 14 years old. Apparently I had been sent there for an assessment in order to see where it was best to accommodate me thereafter. I was initially in care from a very early age, and as a grown mature woman now, I can look back and see that my behaviour was no more than what a teenager goes through during puberty or adolescence. I didn’t have a criminal record and I had just begun my O’levels in school, in fact I had started to settle down academically, but became some what introverted, withdrawn or private from an over bearing ‘house mother’ whom I was unable to worship emotionally as my own mother. It resulted in one day being removed from my children’s home after returning from school. I recall staying over night at another home where the Superintendant offered me the option of remaining there…she seemed gentle enough, but at this point I trusted no one, I had also refused to be fostered out anymore as a safety measure to prevent being locked away, although I had tried it and it was obvious to me that a small family unit was something I was not accustomed to and unable to bare.

    Accompanied by my social workder I arrived at the Lodge spotless, my hair was still wet under my seventies styled hat. I was an immaculately dressed teenager, not a hair out of place, I guess an adolescence characteristic when you’re learning how to be comfortable in your uncomfortable developing body, and I was seriously shy, but masked it with an appearance of being fashionably, well dressed, this suggested to others I was confident. I struggled with an enormous suitcase of clothes into a reception area, not knowing that I would never see the clothes again until I left. The reception area seemed to lead into a room with a bath, almost like something you’d see in a doctor’s surgery and there was a nurse like female who made me strip down and bath again…and undo my hair and repeat washing it too. I think they called it going through ‘addmissions’. I can’t recall what happened to my social worker I think he just dwindled into the background of the reception and my mind until the day he came to pick me up. As for the nurse like figure I remember seeing someone like her one more time when I went down for a check up and she attempted to put what the girls in the Lodge named ‘the ducks mouth’ in to my virgina. Yes one of those metal things the doctor uses and cranks up when getting a smear. I had to explain I wasn’t sexually active (and neither did I have cancer or was pregnant – check what the…she was on, imagine this happening to a daughter of yours in these times).

    I had one set of clothes that I was allowed to wear if ever I had a visit from family or friends etc otherwise the procedure was to wear a red top and shorts with white tesco looking pumps. (On visits the Lodge would let us have an extra sugar in our tea?) The Lodge was split into two floors: top and bottom. Girls were placed in single rooms which had a bed, a piece of wood that was fixed to the wall which could fold up and lay out flat like a small seat, oh and a small mirrow, besides a seemingly large window, that couldn’t open other than a slight section at the bottom that would fall say two inches forward with toughned glass, and believe it was tough as I tried to escape enough times. There was no light switches in rooms, lighting was controlled outside by staff. The rooms contained no cupboards, dressing tables or wardrobes which seemed relevant since we had no clothes and the spacial area was about a 3 metre squared box, basically a modernised cell. Corridors were patrolled of a night time, all night. No one could go to the toilet during the day or night without being accompanied by a member of staff who could watch while you went as the toilets were of a cubicle design with a half cut saloon door.

    My first night was emotionally painful and I cried hard, but by the morning something had snapped inside me. We were woken up possibly before 7 am and every girl bathed every morning in a shallow ankle bath, staff were on watch and would slam a spot of vim on the edging of the bath for it to be cleaned. Tooth paste was placed on tooth brushes by staff and we would collect our red clothing and footwear from a cupboard where it was put routinely the night before. All meals were held in the same dinning room area which was brought up from the kitchens. There was one additional room to the dining room where we were all made to sit during the whole day, every day, (if you wasn’t carrying out a duty) that contained wooden arm chaired seats. If you was a smoker you was allowed 2 – 4 cigarettes per day that you bought out of money you earned carring out cleaning duties. There were three occupations that you could possibly carry out if not in isolation (hence the cells) i.e. House Duties (cleaning), Domestic Science (cookery) and School. You did not have a choice of which occupation you would be assigned to this was down to the descretion of senior staff. We were given 15 minutes per day exercise where we would play rounders and if lucky once a week we were taken to a local sports centre to do gym activities or swimming. If you were on your period you was still expected to swim, as I remember being told by a certain senior member of staff you will not bleed if you remain in the water.

    We were encouraged if not forced to knit and paid for the wool out of the ‘pocket money’ we earned cleaning the building. Money you earned would be taxed if you misbehaved besides a deduction of your daily cigarettes. Isolation rooms were used as a punishment they were cells with a bell that would be turned off to avoid being used and causing a nuisance. The cells were brick styled and had a wooden slab as a bed, if lucky a matress would be slung to you of a night time…the lights were never turned off in the night…you were stripped of any footwear and ate only with a spoon…God help you if you were on your period when flung into isolation. (Isolation was often a break from the shit staff could dish out and the mundane routine of cleaning, not being in school, going no where and sitting day-in-day-out at a window where you could just about see a road and the odd car or bus pass.) An additonal punishment was to make girls stand for hours in the corridor overseen by a member of staff who would have the comfort of sitting in an arm chair should they wish to join you. Thank goodness I was tall as I could place my feet off the ground against the facing parallel wall while my back remained leaning on the opposite wall and take the weight of my legs…Physical beatings and mental abuse besides humiliation was not un heard of from certain staff, so may it rest on your conscience and names…

    Escaping was a part time hobby for me although much did I plan but little was effective. Girls admitted into the Lodge were there for various reasons. There was a divide in terms of girls on ‘assessment’ and those on ‘remand’, in relation to: each with different needs and experiences, but all being clumped together whether you had arrived from Holloway Prison, was a rape or abuse victim, a truant, had a series of criminal offences or just a teenager going through adolescense. One girl who I will not name was there for attempting to kill her mother and father and was facing a 10 year sentence in a juvenile secure unit or as they put it: a ‘Community School’, ( she was as I remember her: peaceful and mature). There was no real differentiation in relation to circumstances and as for assessment outcomes these were just as disproportionately dished out (or out of sync) in terms of our needs. I do recall that while I was there they were building an additional block for those on ‘assessment’. My experience of being on the first floor of the Lodge mentally toughened me up. We were a collective of girls from all over the United Kingdom with various issues according to the system. I do recall a group of us getting together which freaked out certain staff as they couldn’t get there heads around it since we were from all nations: Asian, White, Mixed and black etc and we got on and made plans to escape and be as we were being defined unruly.

    A visit to the Psychiatrist and Psychologist was part of the assessment, it would have been interesting to have been able to put a mobile phone and memory stick in front of them at that time and seen their reaction or get the head round a laptop.

    I left Middlesex Lodge from the isolation room where the staff on duty did not believe me when I said my social worker is due to come and collect me. He did.

    Thanks to the school teacher who was into astrology and took an interest in my academic ability and encouraged my art.

    I hope all the girls I met from London, Scotland and further have safe lives now. And as for whether Middlesex Lodge institutional confinement is effective think of it like this: would you have sent your children there.

  9. The comments left since I left my comment are very interesting and have helped me come to terms with what happened. I was at Middlesex Lodge on two separate occasions. I do think to a certain extent for my safety from the outside influences, this was a good thing, but on the other hand, the way this institution was run leaves a lot to be desired, however, we can learn from this, and I think institutions now are hopefully much more humane. I remember being asked to be put in the cell, so I could feel isolated and realise now that I was punishing myself, however, if there had been some sort of psychotherapy where you could talk about your feelings, this would have been a much better method. There were some good staff there as well as bad, I even remember looking forward to when some staff were on duty. I remember the sweets we were allowed which we were rewarded for good behaviour. However, the issue of schooling was another matter – there was no real curriculum so there was a gap in my education. Being a determined and positive person, I went onto to achieve 4 O levels and did a secretarial course and now have a lovely supportive family. I have 3 daughters – yes all from the same father, and have been married 19 years -almost! I do think about why I was put in Middlesex Lodge for protection initially and what I would do if my daughters ran away from me – hopefully it will never happen, but I would be mortified if they were at the mercy of the evil pimps and would want society to protect them. Two are in further education and the youngest is doing her GCSE’s. I was lucky enough to have foster parents who even after having a separation from at 13, reunited with me again when I was 17 and independent with my own flat, they have always supported me since then and even their family have added me onto to their family tree, which made me feel special at last.

  10. I was at Middlesex Lodge in 1972, my crime, truancy and out of control of my parents. Well what a place to put a 13 yr old who just didn’t like the school she was at. I remember one night that someone was caught out of their bed and the punishment was everyone was made to lie downstairs in the front foyer in their night dress on a freezing cold floor. We were kept therefor what seemed like hours. I was shaking with the cold and I did nothing wrong, just happened to be on the same floor as the that ONE person caught out of their bed. I was in that place for 6 months for even now what I call a bloody nightmare. I was often bullied in the early stages of my time there but then I turned into a raving nutter one night and no one touched me after that. How sad that I had to turn into something I wasn’t just to stop those horrible people hurting me. I am one of the ones that made sure that I made something of my life despite my wobbly teenage years. I am Nurse practiconer and a mother to 5 and I have managed to steer them in the right direction so they would not have to encounter anywhere near the things I did.

  11. This place was HELL ON EARTH. It should have been knocked down.the staff were there to either bully or to get their pay cheque then go back to their cosy lives.i left that hole pregnant at 14 and no one gave a toss when at that age in residential care i used to go out at all hours day or night and be gone for days on end.the abuse is still something i wont talk about.that was 1984-85.dont tell me the head of social services never knew

  12. I was put into care at the age of 11 for playing truant from school, no one asked me why i played truant instead i was put into care and given a care order after six weeks. I was sent to 11 homes in four years because i kept ‘absconding’. I was always the only black person in most of the homes i was sent to (usually many miles from home) and suffered so much different kinds of abuse its scarred me for life. I was sent to Middlesex Lodge it seems for this very purpose, i was always being restrained for the slightest thing and then kept in a cell for my own protection. Treats would be withdrawn and i was the reason they gave, when i came out the cell i was tortured by the other kids and dissed by the staff. This happened in nearly every single home i resided in, if i complained i was told i had a chip on my shoulder and i was warned about making serious allegations etc and that was the end of it. The last home i was in was St Josephs in Nantwhich Cheshire, i was nearly drowned on my first day and was put in the secure unit for my own protection for a year. I was raped repeadly and on the last attempted rape my arm was broke and i was formally discharged from care as long as i did not press charges. Over 20 odd years later the police came to see me while i was at university informing me many ex residents had informed them of the terrible abuse i suffered and wanted me to give evidence in court, i declined. I had buried those memories and now i cant get them out of my thoughts, even though id almost finished my degree i could not continue. As a bad coincidence soon after the police came my friend who i had met in care died of a drug overdose, and that was the end of my studies. i cant stop crying i have been depressed since the police came and now im stuck with slf pity. And that was what they called the ‘care’ system the care that i never experienced from any staff in any home i was in, ironic. Was this really the best solition really better than my family home where i played truant twice in one week because my teacher falsely accused me nicking money out of the biscuit tin when i did’nt even know what it was.

  13. Julie Reid. Your story hurt me the most. I’m just sorry you didn’t give evidence to put those people away! I’m waiting for the day, someone comes to me for evidence, once I open my mouth, I won’t stop. I know what you went through, people were unscrupulous when it came to the black kids, and I don’t mean to take anything away from the white girls at all, because I know you had it rough too. It’s just that, for the black girls, it was always the colour then the person. It was like “chip on your shoulder” was the said thing to blacks, that’s how you knew they were being racist, you know they really wanted to say nigger or wog but didn’t realise that saying chip on your shoulder was more or less the same thing.
    I was put in care at the age of 4 months. The first 8 years were pretty good up until I discovered racism and then it pretty much went down hill from there. I always believed that if I could of stayed in the one place ( Benjo) I would have turned out with less resentment and bitterness towards the system and workers.

    I grew up to be very articulate and even in a disagreement (not even an argument) the white girls would say “you’ve got a chip on your shoulder” It’s like that was the replacement for nigger. If anyone said that to me today, I promise you, I would slap the taste out of their mouth so quick and then tell them” no actually, this is having a chip on your shoulder” Thankfully people do not say it to me any more so there is now reason to resurrect the devil inside. Unlike you Julie, I don’t have any pity for myself, my past has turned me into a strong black woman and I don’t take shit from anyone any more. I wish you could be stronger. If you want someone to talk to, I’m here. My email is [email protected].
    Anyone on this page that has been to that hell hole is welcome to contact me. I’m in the process of writing a book about my past, that’s how I found this page through google to try and jog my memory. I’m finding it increasingly difficult, because it’s just so flipping painful, and in between the tears, I find the strength to write another chapter. I want to name and shame everyone in this book that bullied and beat me to a pulp. I don’t see why they should get away with it, further more, it’s helping me to get it all out. I am a little scared though, cause when I remember things, I get mad, but naming them makes me smile.

    For some reason I remember it as Middlesex lodge as Middlesex lock up. I don’t know if I came there from the Old Mill after or before and I don’t remember everything about the place. As I’m reading the girls stories, things are coming back to me, like the green soap and bathing in front of the staff. I made a point to block out my past because it was just to hateful and painful, however but I do remember being bullied by Deborah Nicholas. Funny how you remember the names of your bullies isn’t it. She was horrible. It was hard enough being bullied for being black, but to be bullied by one of your own was just as bad. There wasn’t any solidarity, it seems everyone was out for themselves. She would make up songs with the other girls about me and they would taunt me all the time. I ended up running away with her (don’t know how the hell that happened) and we went to the coliseum in Harlsden and the Peoples club where they played mainly Reggae. It was the best time I’d ever had.

    I’m still trying to overcome my anger. It’s not physical, it’s just always there. Counselling is probably the best solution, but who wants to tell a stranger what they did to you? Thanks girls.

  14. I have read all your comments about your “care” experiences..truely shocking all of them. I came across this website because I am looking for information with regards to another care home, or as it was called” Olands Obervation and Assessment Centre, in Somerset. I was never sent there for care, however have memories of being there as a child. Of being taken there to be sexually abused and tortured.
    This centre was investigated by the police, Operation React. The investigation was due to allegations of sexual abuse and torture of children. I understand that over 1,000 previous residents of the school were interviewed. One person was convicted at William Rogers.
    I have very clear memories now of what happened to me there and where. What I was subjected to. I was not alone though. Kids went missing, disappeared.. it would help me with my own recovery to hear from anyone who was there..my experience was during the late 1960s to early 1970s

  15. I was also in Middlesex lodge assessment centre in 1976, through no fault of my own, was told by my social worker Claire Ogden
    That I was going to be assessed, due to my truanting from school and running away from home ( not once was I asked by any social worker why) was told I was going for 6 weeks, that turned out to be 6 months., was told I could take all my clothes, make up, records, that was not the case, as previous ladies have said, you were told to strip bath and given one set of clothing, underwear was washed every night, I can honestly say that I never ever got abused by any member of staff, my key worker was lovely, I never had a problem with any of the girls in there, my life on the outside of Middlesex lodge was far worse, here I felt safe even though I was in there with girls that were there for serious crimes like the young girl who was there for attempting to murder her parents, she was the only one in our class who could write to a boyfriend, we were only allowed to write to parents or carers, but because she was going on to spend a long time locked up she was given that privilege, we talked about how she had ended up like this, and it had all boiled down to peer pressure from a friend about her staying out later than her parents allowed, I often think about her and another girl I became close to Sharon Hand, I have tried to find her to this day but have had no luck, so if anyone from Middlesex lodge knows of her I would love to meet her, we were there in 1976 in the heat wave. My memories of the lodge are only good ones, how we had dancing lessons on a certain night and we had to learn to waltz to englebert humpadinks please release me let me go, very apt at the time and so old fashion, and save your kisses for me the Eurovision song, how I hate those records now. The resident nurse was a really large lady, and I remember having a severe toothache and having to go to a dentist for what I thought would be just a filling, to wake up from an anesetic with 4 teeth missing at 14 that was not a good look. Now 50 with 3 amazing children and 5 grandchildren I am happily married 32 years,have a beautiful life, and I hope all the ladies that were there with me, have got the same.

  16. I was taken to middlesex lodge on remand when i was 13. I kept absconding from my boarding school and missing my court hearings so the social services deciding to keep me under lock and key. I remember the admission process and the green soap etc. because i was 13 i was not allowed to smoke, you had to be a minimum 14yrs old to smoke, which makes no sense as at that time the law said you had to be 16 yrs. The one thing that really sticks in my mind is the 4 months i was there i had only been outside for fresh air once for half an hour. I know in prisons, even the worst criminals get out for an hour each day. so was i worse than a serial killer? I was there in 82-83 and suffered no physical or mental abuse by the staff. In actual fact i liked most of them as did most other girls.

    after my court case it was time for them to send me back to my awful boarding school. I told my social worker i would rather stay at middlesex lodge than go back to that horrid place. They moved me to a great childrens home with education (chaworth) and i finally settled down.

    Im sorry that some girls had a terrible experience at the lodge, but i cannot say i did (apart from lack of fresh air).

  17. Hi all

    I was placed in Middlesex Lodge, and then, Cumberlow Lodge in 1988. I have recently had my True Story, Hackney Child published, and it features both of these placements. I identify with the majority of the comments on here re Middlesex Lodge. It was a nasty, uncaring and unsafe placement. I absolutely hated it. I was so happy when my SWs arrived to collect me from the padded room, to take me to Cumberlow. I feel such pain, still, at the thought of living there.

    I send love and hugs to all the girls who lived in these placements – look after yaself – cause ya all worth it xxxx

  18. I started this morning bored looking for stuff related to aycliffe approved school ended up reading stories from that era of homes schools government places for BAD kids a lot were abused beaten scared and scarred for life
    To be taken away from your family for nicking off school pinching a dart from woolies and all sorts of minor incidents was in fact a road to hell for loaded if kids .
    Aycliffe was a great place to be in the middle sixties discipline was strict sometimes overly But we weren’t saints We had all the advantages of a private education sports camping tuition from educated masters
    Shame about the other places in the uk where Kids had mares

  19. I have read your stories, I was never in those places I was in stonepound house in sussex, in the 70`s, for years I have kept my mouth shut I`m 50 years old now and all my life I have lived with what happened to me, I`ve also felt to embarrased and ashamed to speak about it, I went through hell, never once did I have a long term placement, Stonepound house is the same as the places you were at. I was also in various childrens homes around surrey, In one of them there was alot of sex abuse I was raped front and back forced to have oral sex many times by a member of staff, I cant live like this anymore the past haunts me
    that is why I reported it to the police a week ago I have an appointment to go to the police station on Tuesday, when I was in care in that home another girl was raped there I reported this to a member of staff, the police were involved, It got swept under the carpet as is usual, I was punished by the staff because I reported it you can imagine how I was punished, I was from a middle class family divorced parents, my mother was to busy drinking or being around different boyfriends, my father was always drunk, I could`nt even say social services took me away from them the truth was they gave me to them they did`nt want me they had their own lives, I`m so frightened at themoment I fell so alone even though I know there are loads of us out there, but one day I will be able to hold my head up high.

  20. I was in both middlesex and cumberlow lodge i have never forgotten what it was like the one set of clothes the stupid routines.Auntie Dee or mrs harmen two of the lovliest ladies that came into my life.i also remember a certain perverted p.e teacher who shall remain nameless.it was so hard in both places but it was a lot harder at home.to all the girls that have been there or remember me i have never forgotten you

  21. I was placed in Cumberlow lodge ( Maybe 1983) for assessment on where I should be placed, It was the year the social workers went on strike and I ended being there for a few months. I was the only child left there at one point as everyone elses social worker placed them before going on strike. The judge actually apologised to me, When he extended my secure order as I could not be placed any where else til the strike was over.
    Back to me, I was a serial absconder from an abusive home background and my first childrens home was awful too that was why I ran away. I completely out of control, mainly living on the streets, Pimps and pushers were always in the back ground and I think I had a lot narrow escapes. I hung around with a large crowd of young but messed up people but that sort of protected me , however I remember consciously being aware I might die and had accepted that. At 14 that is pretty messed up.
    WhenI was 1st brought to cumberlow lodge, I’d been picked up off the streets filthy dirty and absolutely exhausted. No-one explained what was happening to me. One officer just spitefully looked at me and said their goner lock you up.
    I was absolutely freaked, and the admission process worsened it. I was taken to a bathroom and forced to strip and bath and be deloused ( no I wasn’t tjhat bad! no lice but standard practice ) in front of a female member of staff. All my belongings not much were taken and I was dressed in a long old fashioned nighty. The process was degrading and added to the complete disorientation and shock I was in. Then I was locked in my room ( do you remember each room was a different colour with pretty floweery wall paper to try and take away from the fact that it was a cell.
    I consider this one of the lowest points of my time in care I was so distressed and shocked. I think I I must have had some sort of emotional breakdown. I ripped my nighy to peices, smashed out the unsmashable drawers and tried to smash through a window. Staff came in, restrained me and took me to the ROOM> I don’t remember padding, just a bare cell with a bare mattress. At which time I think I just collasped and withdrew into semi consciousness, I just couldn’t cope anymore. At some point I was actually picked up and carried back to bedroom/ cell I think the staff were quite concerned.
    My worst experience of being in care at this time was that noone took time to explain what was happening and why. To find out what was wrong with me or why I ran away. We were all just delinquents. I had no counselling , no guidance. Noone took the time to develope a relaitionship with me that would have enabled the truth to come out.I always thought I was the bad one and noone tried to challenge that.
    During my time there, we only had one serious criminal admission for a girl who was to young for borstall. We all Knew as the staff were keyed up and security was extreme. When she was admitted we were all locked in our rooms and all released slowly to meet each other. She never acted out once, it was her last chance, but we were scared of her,she was in a different league to us kids.
    All in all most of the staff treated me fairly, a couple made spiteful comments but most were kind but distant. It was very boring we never went out, had exercise or fresh air, most of us got fat. I sufferered bullying by one girl but it was ignored by staff,. I did start self harming here I don’t know why but it helped me cope. I also developed a phobia of enclosed spaces that i live with to this day, I can’t bear lifts and and locked doors and have developed odd OCDish habits around them.
    I did get plenty of time to draw, read and write and had access plenty of materials which I loved (forget any hope of an academic education)! A decision was made that I should be placed in a home that specialised in the arts in kingston not too far away. I was actually excited. But no, after all that time and money, social servives placed me in one of their own homes in kent, as it was cheaper!! So it was all for nothing, What was the point? all that trauma?
    My life continued to spiral out of control and eventually pregnant at 15 I ended up in Meadowcroft the only childrens home in the country with a secure unit for pregnant girls (lucky me). This time I had support from another childrens home and took social services to crown court and had the secure order over turned, quite something in those days but it was such along procees I still ended up there. That is another story. LOOKING BACK i FIND IT UNBELIEVEABLE THAT NOONE SAID STOP. THINK WHAT DO THESE KIDS REALLY NEED. LOVE.

  22. Jane Says:
    November 10th, 2010 at 3:17 pm
    I too was in Middlesex Lodge in the early 1980’s. Again my ‘crime’ was to have an abusive alcoholic mother and to run away from home. I wiil never forget arriving there and being taken to a room with a bath in and being told told to strip and get into the bath and wash with flee shampoo. I was 13 had been abused and had to stand naked in front of two members of staff. All of my clothes were taken away and I was given long brown socks, jelly shoes and a skirt and top. Every evening we had to wash out our socks and knickers and place them in bucket were they were counted and hung up to dry. The reasoning behing this, that noone would abscond without their underwear!! And for those having their menstal cycle you had to go and ask for a sanitary towel from a staff member who then logged it in a book.When I look back, it seems amazing that children, because that whats we were, children were allowed to be treated in such an inhumane way when we had been removed by people working for the ’system’ who deemed our family and enviroment uncaring.

  23. I was in and out of care from 7 to 16,brandon twicw,st peters twice moorside once and then Aycliffe School from 1979 to 1983. Iwas a thief,burglar,shoplifter and arsonist, at the age of 12 i was sent to royston secure assesment house at aycliffe school. The average time in this unit was around 6 weeks and i was there for 6 months, in their wisdom i was sent to the newly opened special secure unit. The original shock to this place was unbelievable. At 12 years old i found myself locked in with killers,prostitutes violent offenders , these were all older than me and i was terrified.

    The special unit had 3 sections/houses. MERLIN,SISKIN AND HERON, the first letters were the initials of Masuud Hoghughi the homes principal/director.
    Merlin was very oppressive but if you behaved you were eventually advanced to Siskin which began to allow more freedoms and privileges, in this section you were allowed out for trips into town and then eventually home visits. Education in this place was really non existant but some of the staff began to single myself and another boy out for more educational periods including IQ tests.

    After a while a plan was devised between social workers, staff,psychologists and a local comprehensive school,i was sent from the secure unit to a normal everyday school and after basically missing 4 years of school i felt like i fit in somewhere,i left woodham comp in 1983 with 9 cse’s 5 grade 1s and 4 grade 2s.If they hadnt taken the line they did i dont know what would have happened to me but as things stand i made friends at schhol that i still have today. The staff at aycliffe were great(mostly) there were some that were old borstal staff and the new systems were as hard for them to adjust to as they were for us.I went on to join the army but was medically discharged and i went on to be a joiner , married my love,have a 12 year old daughter and have more good memories than bad.
    Unfortunately my helath deteriorated over the last 5 or 6 years and i had a stroke about 4 months ago which has left me allmost completely blind with mobility problems.
    I feel so sorry for those kids that were abused but apart from the odd slap round the head(which was ussually well deserved) i was never aware of any form of abuse.some places are obviously better than others and i thank god that things went the way they did for me or god knows where i would have ended up. There are a lot of good people out there that dont get the praise they deserve and we only ever hear about the bad ones. From me ,i thank the good ones.


  24. Olands was thankfully much different from all the experiences detailed here, I did 2 ‘terms’ at Olands, a couple of years apart in mid 70’s. it was so much better than being at ‘home’ with my parents, safer, food daily, bed every night ! No beatings ! Safe from sexual abuse……. Until my 2nd term at least, ( and yes the police do know, I contacted them when the Bill Rogers thing came out into the open, but my abuser has got away with it)
    The Assessment process was a joke, the staff had a meeting and decided where you were going to be farmed off to next, I got sent to ‘professional foster parents’ , they were classed as professionals because they’d brought up their own 3 kids ! They got paid well for thier services, they didn’t give a shit, my clothing allowance was added up and that’s what was spent on clothes and not a penny more !

    I had 1 short visit and a weekend with them and then I was placed there, end of ! In fairness they didn’t do anything wrong, I was just an income, never fitted in with them, they didn’t actually care about me as a person or an individual.

    As for Olands, I don’t remember anything particularly bad, (apart from what ive previously mentioned),I can remember pushing my luck on one occasion and having to undress for bed in front of Miss Puddy and Jean before lights out.The supervisor at the time could be a b//////d, especially if his football team lost ! Sunday was chore day, but we all had to do something, and we all had to take turns at washing up tea things, done by dining room table, seniors only.
    The boot room was a constant threat as a punishment, ( cupboard under the stairs), but don’t know if anyone was ever actually locked in there. Punishments were normal, bed with no supper, bed early, no trips out etc.
    All clothes were kept on the clothes locker, and issued when needed, clean underware dished out in a tray every morning when they woke us up. Senior girls slept in the ‘unit’ which was always locked, windows only opened 2 inches, thankfully there was never a fire, I’m sure it wouldn’t pass health and safety these days,lol
    Medical exams done in the Staff room, doctor and staff member, not pleasant experience , think that was the only time I saw a doctor during my 5 years in care.but for the most part Olands was happy days.

    As for the idea of places like Olands etc, giving us space and time to understand why we were where we were at , we were kids !
    We never got close enough to anyone to ‘tell’, we were too busy trying to survive and wondering wtf was coming next. No one had the time to spend with an individual child to find out what made them ‘tick’,you did almost everything as a group of kids, swimming, mealtimes,school runs etc, ……. you deal with the abuse as an adult, the memories never leave, as much as we all try to put them in a box, they escape every so often , children just adapt and survive, as adults we attempt to deal with it as best we can.

    On a footnote; the system still needs to change, for the most part Social workers are not accountable for thier actions, they are immune from prosecution, they are answerable to no one, they play god with people’s lives…. And yet they have very little life experiences, how can someone who goes from school to Uni to being a Social worker understand the complexities of an abused or mis understood child ? If your lucky you see a social worker for an hour every couple of weeks, that’s no way to build a friendship or the trust that’s needed between Social worker and child,
    as for things like care homes maybe Staff being rotated less, ie A works Mon. Tues, Wed, 9-5, B works Thurs , Fri Sat,…..etc. I never knew who would be on duty when I woke up or when I got in from school, maybe if it had been a regular rota I might of stood a chance of building a relationship with a member of staff I could trust……. So and so upset me, but A is in tomorrow and I get on with them so I’m gonna have a moan when they come in.
    Yes it all needs to change in order to better protect and help the victims of the future ! But how on earth you do it with kids who don’t know which way is up and who can only express thier unhappiness through ‘bad’ behavior is anyone’s guess, individual kids being given individual time is the only way forward, but there’s never going to be enough resources to give what’s actually needed!

  25. I was at Cumberlow lodge in the mid 70,s. I was sent there for truancy and absconding .the place was a total shit hole and even after all these years ( I am 50 now) I can remember being put in that little dark room with blacked out windows for 24 hrs.The food was crap. I was treated badly for the whole time I was there. I remember my parents visiting me and I asked if I could go to my cousins wedding. Because I asked this I was put in that room for 24 hrs as a punishment. Glad the place has gone now its a pity the terrible memories cant go with it. The one good thing there was the girls who were in there with me at the time. Great freinds and good company ,the one thing that kept us going. It did nothing to help with my problems and just made me hate the system more than when I went in.

  26. I would dearly love to get in contact with the lass who wrote the article titled “I will hold my head up high” this was written on 21st november 2012, i too was in Stonepound House and am trying to find my records, but i am getting the usual fob off attitude from social services, they so know they are guilty, i have no issue with putting my e-mail address on here if anybody has been affected by or knows where girls from Stonepound House may be now, please contact me on [email protected] hang in there ladies your not aloan…Caz

  27. Hi I was in Cumberlow Lodge in 1974 for 4 months, I was abused at home both physically/sexually and emotionally and then went into the care system from age 11 til 18, for what was termed in need of love care and attention, Cumberlow Lodge among other insitutions I was sent, was where I was sent for running away from home, hardly any crime. I did truant from school for a few weeks whilst back in may parents care, the problem was not with me – it was with my parents and the care system. I was very neglected. However I kept my head down for 8 years and waited til I was 18 to to be free. I feel I would have a case to sue the Hammersmith and Fulham Social Services for totally making my life worse, they were supposed to get me love care and attention. I am now 53 and have good memorys of Mr and Mrs Hart who were very sympathetic to my situation at that age. I went through the care system and was then basically dumped into the world at 18 with no help or support left from them cos the money stopped I guess. HUH

  28. i want to sue. i was not at Cumberlow or Middlesex lodge. i just went straight to Holloway at 16. At 14 Westminster Social Service put me in bed and breakfast hotel in Queensway, a famous red light district, basically i was living in a brothel. I had to live on £1 a day. The reason i was kicked out of a children’s home in Slough is because i tried to kill myself i was being raped and beat up all the time by the boys in the home. they made me pregnant i caught deceases and was always in and out of hospital. Eventually i went to the police to report it. No on took a blind bit of notice the police just brought me back to the home. The warden was noncing the younger kids so he didnt need me making trouble, i was sent back to london rapido. Im also haunted now of memories in care and i want answers and i want to sue. i was 12 at the time, no one gave a shit. Ended up doing Borstal at 16 till 18 came out of Holloway and that was it no more Social Services no nothing. Just a plastic bag and a probation officer who could not do anything about me being homeless. The sad thing was i though being forced to have sex was normal i did not know u could say No. Yes, i want to sue.

  29. i was in middlesex lodge secure unit for 6 months in 1985 and cumberlowe lodge after for 3 months ive been in holloway many times as an adult and ide rather be in holloway than those secure units they were really bad for kids especialy middlesex lodge it was containment and nothing else staff didnt give a shit they just fed you and locked you up

  30. I was in midx lodge in late 80’s…some good and bad memories…often think of Halima, Sam, Barbara, Lisa and Michelle….hope you are all doing ok….i am well and happy. I have two children and also work with children and famlies. I know i make a difference….i have turned.my life atound…. I have read all your stories….brought back some memories..the best staff member Sue…she was my key worker….bad memories being restrained and locked in an empty room….posutive ad ecperiences in midx and care made me determined to get my degree and now post grad and i am helping kids…stay blessed!

  31. I was in Middlesex Lodge from 1970-1971 reading all these stories I can’t belive the crulty and abuse went on into the 1980 made me sick to my stomach that what I went through continued. I was locked in the dark room for 2 days all because I asked for glasses as I couldn’t see properly. If I wrote down all what I went through it would take the rest of my life and even now at 58 years old I can never forget.

  32. If anybody was or if anybody knows anybody, who was resident in Stonepound House, between the years of it’s opening as a remand home during the 1940s and the 1980s when it closed to become a nursing home, there is a face book page called Stonepound House, it’s a page for girls to meet and post if they wish, it’s a safe place to chat or just read the comments left by others, it was set up as a helping place and not for any offence ment to anybody, there are too many of us out there who possibly feel alone and may have done so for years, not knowing when or who to turn to, feeling dissbelieved or ashamed, you are believed and it’s not your shame, you are not alone, please take a look at the page and join us if you feel you would like to, when you feel ready to, Caroline :)

  33. Hi please do not feel so alone or feel bad you done nothing wrong !!!So brave of you to contact the police there are many that were abused at STONEPOUND HOUSE we are out there now fighting to bring these vile pieces of scum to justice its never to late I live in Brighton so if you ever need support PLEASE DO NOT FEEL ALONE …..Do feel free to contact us we are here to support you & listen & yes hold your head high REMEMBER YOU DONE NOTHING WRONG from 1 of the girls Stonepound House F/B Heidi Thompson

  34. I think we were generally viewed as a commodity to be used at will by the staff and rented out to ‘The Captain’ at Burnham, various clerics at Wells and police officers and worthies around the county.

  35. hi i was at olands in the mid to late 70s and thankfully i never suffered any abuse even though i was a nightmare i remember bill rogers and was shocked when it came out what he had done olands was the saving of me as i was fostered into a very loving home it took me years to be able to trust any adults but thanks to them ad olands that was made possible for me i feel for everyone who has been abused as it mars your adult life forever xxx

  36. Well the care given at olands was terrible. I was sent there early 70s upto 76.

    Of course big bill didnt exactly help or was it jack frost and that cane, you would get hit with for going to the bathroom at night.

    If you there during that time, then I spit on you and the others who ran things then. I was sent there as a friggin holiday. No foster parents wanted me during end of term at Warliegh Manor. So for a change I was sent to olands.

    It was the worst time of my life.

    Since then I was sent to various foster homes n foster homes. I worked out once.. from the age.of 6 months when I was 1st placed in care.to when I was dumped in a bedsit aged 16 I had gone though 9 schools and 30 movements (foster homes. Children homes. Adjustment units and maladjustment centres)

    Now as a 40 something man. Ive had 1 long term and a.couple short term relationships. I am an emotional blackhole with a personality disorder and a huge distrust and resentment of those who put themselves in charge of me.

    And now.in this modern times…. can I get help???? Not friggin likely.

    The people in charge of this site will have my details if you want.to correct some of the wrong thats been done to me!

    How about that…. dont just get people to tell their stories for a book… get the stories so you CAN HELP THEM

  37. Hi David , I was at Middlesex lodge in 1967 ..Why are you doing this did you not get your jollys off putting kids like me that were being sexually,mentalyand physicly abused at home into a place where i was treated like a criminal all because I ran away from home if you are looking to ease your concience dont bother i hope ppl like you rot in hell… dont look at ppl like me to forgive you I dont give a toss at what excuses you give for doing this to me i am 62 now and after having treatment for a year with a counceller and a psychiatrist i finely can live with what the likes of you did to me and others like me i hope you had a nice live because you made my life hell for me and my children so ………..ROT IN HELL YOU EVIL NASTY MAN I truly hope you have a painful long slow death … You have my email lets see if you have the guts to get back to me bet you dont and i bet this dont even get on these stories blame stops with ppl like you

  38. I see that you took my message off off here thought you would ….What you don’t like the truth …….. like I said have the guts to put it back on here …….you haven’t even contacted me what a waster am I a big girl now so you cant do what you did well guess what I am suing see you in court

  39. Hi all I was in cumberlow lodge twice in the late 70,s early 80,s, I was a northern girl placed by social services, I was drugged everyday by the staff , just to keep us quiet, it was 1 of my worst times in my life,I only remember 1 decent staff member marina was her name, nice lady with glasses, I need up in hospital for 3 months on my first visit there lucky me and I mean that,taken back there for another 3 months, then back up north, for 6 months , then social track me again , by handcuffing me for 5 hour jounery back there , to be told I would be held there until a place became available at glenthornes ytc, yet another 8 months on hold,only ever seen my mum once as it where so far away, but to honest meet some decent girls there, but can only remember 2 of there names Cathy was 1 she got moved to Middlesex lodge and a quite girl called Sarah, she even came to see me in Birmingham when she got out, being in these places made me what I,am today, a loving mum to 4 grown up children a Nana to 5 , all that you read are true stories of a place that should never have been aloud to stay open , I hope most of you have manage to adjust to normal life’s

  40. Does anyone remember me from Chadswell Assessment Centre in the summer of 1971? I screamed a lot, they locked me in the cell there was a boy standing on the table.

  41. I was in Cumberlow lodge and my opinion of the staff there bar a woman callie Wilhelmina (willlie ) the rest were not suitable to look after children and children, never mind children who have Extra emotional needs.

    David I feel your reflection is totally accurate and honest maybe this is how you would like to justify the mistakes made by of the risk assessments taken previous to the decision placing a child there and I feel that that also the staff in these places tarred damaged children with the same brush and never credited us for our own positive attributes or gave us any opportunity to grow them and receive the good attention and freedom we should have deserved for them there was no ambition for us we were treated no different from prisoners in cumber low lodge whether in the lock up section or out (and out was worse than in sometimes as ya had to keep it all locked in while we were served rancid dairy products looked at like pieces of shit and treated like animals locked in rooms.. our treatment as either those who had for assessment or remand, was disgusting as I can assure you I was not an ill behaved child when I arrived but that place bought the animal out in me cause i had already had my trust betrayed by a number of adults and my trust was returning in the children s home i was taken from which was full of love for the children who are there only to be place with people who lacked that warmth at a time most of us were taken out of our boroughs to an alien place; taken from our friends and anything familiar to a cold evil place with staff such as the ex Holloway warden that would drag us up the stair to the secure unit for showing emotion about how we were being treated. I think i was after on the streets i was familiar with . I was put there because after my father was arrested for sexually abusing me as a child and put into prison my mother did what most mothers unfortunately do and was making contact with my father and after an argument with her i was put into care she did not want me, dispite him admitting some of the stuff he did almost immediately how ever that is what she did, they said was a constant absconder.. well i wasn’t really at that point had stayed out overnight once or twice. in an area with lots of friends I had met a lad in the home who i allowed to lead me astray , baring al my father did to me i was a very sheltered church attending child and admittedly the days i did stay out i had drank some alcohol and i didn’t want to go home smelling of it after staff there had asked me to respect that children lived the and said if i smoke ciggies i was to do it out of the way of the home ! the respect was there i never swre in the house i was well behaved the staff were lovely i respected them i felt i could trust them I do not think there was any real reason to put me into a remand and assessment center , while in care i was exposed to many dangers pimps abusive staff drugs emotional abuse and was assaulted by one member of staff jumped on regularly and pinned t the floor by men and one staff in one place ( not Cumberlow )attempted to get me into his bed in the staff quarters.
    But Cumbelow Broke me as a child it was one of the last straws you mention either leave the children run a riot and get away with stuff. or physically stop them? I never ever behaved like i did till I went into Cumberlow lodge the day i arrived i had just recieved a full care order which had to be provided for me to be in there My social Worker took me from my local authority area and after telling me a week before that i was going to a girls hostel because i was out growing the home i was in and she said because it was for older children I would be treated more maturely and would have better freedoms SHE LIED TO ME. as we went there I was a little apprehensive as I the journey took two hours it was the other side of london and it felt strange but the picture she gave me was far from the truth…. that woman saw the change in me six weeks later when she turned up no one could denie it that place broke me I had lost trust in every adult around me to me adults were monsters we had no freedom there was i went out on my own twice in five months of being there .. when i first arrived i was told i was on a six week assessment they took our cigarettes of us we could have five a day which ran out (ok fair enough right) but still i was lied too. we were lock in rooms lights out right after nine I was raped repeatedly as a child i could not bare the dark one of the girls was there for manslaughter, she was actually a lovely girl and had had a hard time that lead her to that predicament but with her and another others up for robbery there was me a child that needed my space i really did and i was scared the only way to react was they way i did to let others know dont go near me or i will hurt you back i felt like a rabbit being cornered by a pack of dogs I was genuinle scared till i got to know the girls i was scared of but i had to act tough to do that and we all got on and they we were close in the end but if i was the good girl you would have like me to have been david.. i would have been eaten for dinner let me tell you .. there was no love there the staff particularly two of them that were definitely in my opinion were there in order to be part of a psychological assessment by way of seeing how we would react to their treatment of us .. I have seen the book that was made by there psychologist who was in the back ground regarding delinquent adolescent girls and is my take on it we were a fucking experiment. love was all that was needed and understanding of the respect for that fact we were all individuals with our own story who were a diverse crowd that all should have been given a personal plan which included some display of affection how can a psychologist, based on daily reports of girls decide to treat each girls individual we were treated like cattle like we had the same brain and if you treat one person this way and it works then you treat us all like it ? if we never had multi complex issues when we arrived i know i speak for my self I certainly left with them when approaching a child’s need in a home full of children you have to understand the diversity i was sexually abused by my father and i got sent to a remand an assessment for that and i was treated like. a criminal throughout my duration there .. how can any professional justify that by saying what you just said.

  42. oh and as for “lay themselves open to allegation.” were you another member of staff that was conveniently blind as to things that went on? didnt want to stand out from those who took staffs side against the kids? ha what a joke! when i was assaulted in once home i was in in Sussex, we were on hols at the time. i was told by that man ” you wait till you get back you will be moving ! he was gonna denied it all! thanks heavens one staff ” the only one” who saw it stuck up for me … and she was bullies by all the others she told me years later when the trial was coming up because they felt sorry for him? he got pissed then hit two girls for no reason he was in a hell of a state and he would have had me punished for that and so would his social worker mates if it was not for that one member of staff who stuck by me. and because I spoke out & had to as he was not going to say sorry but instead have me transferred, i was stopped from going on the next trip to Spain with all the girls because the other staff wanted to drink there and so didn’t want to take me .. what a shower of shit i say… though I know i am not mentioning the home those who read this will remember this incident and i have to a knowledge that there were some nice staff there however when push come to shove they were not the ones ruling the roost (staff wise even if they were the seniors) now I am 40 this year and i have almost completed my degree which is based round policy and practice and social work theory are you going to tell me that me and all these girls up here are lying about out treatment? are you going to go to the grave leaving us all look like we are them stereo typical s you claim we were up there ? you i we all got our head together and pieced our stories up i think we could fight back shit like this and show the world the real damming history of social work in the UK. how dare this man shout we are all liars.

  43. I was in middlesex lodge in 1986s I was 16 & the oldest girl there. I was placed there after being caught smoking resin in a childrens home. Intially I went to the open unit. One morning I refused to get up as I was ill & a member of staff named Francis informed me that if I didnt get up she would get the male staff to drag me out of bed. That pissed me off so I slapped her. The male staff came & one huge guy grabbed me by face! They twisted me & bent me up & dragged me to the secure unit during this time I was having an asthma attack & received no medical attention. They took me to court to get (I think it was called) a restriction liberty order to detain me for a period of time (3 months I believe) My solicitor argued that prior to MLodge Id been doing a Yts course & that MLodge had nothing to offer me education wise due to my age. MLodge had to admit this was true & the order wasnt granted. I left court & went back to my mums. Iv haf a rocky life since due to alcohol & drug addiction. Im happy to say Im 2years clean now & work voluntary for a drug & alcohol service. If Charlie & little Julie who were there also read this Id love to hear from you! Just like to add before I assaulted Francis I found the place ok apart from the bootcamp regime. I do regret slapping her but feel that male staff ‘roughing me up’ because of my behaviour was a no no!

  44. My life has not got better over the years , I was in middlesex lodge jan 89 , I was in secure unit for two weeks , they gave me money for clothes something I never had from my parents , food and shelter something else I did not have from my parents , I ran away from middlesex lodge , I have no idea why ? After m l I was moved to frant court and abused by a staff member , I am still “lost” and had a child adopted as I was raped and could not face the child , I was 16 , I ended up in care due to my dad beating me up and uncle and ss not believing me , I do not talk to my family , they have let me down . My life has been rapes , beatings , working on the game , 15 overdoses , I have a daughter now , I am in abusive relationship , I have won a bursary for a top independent boarding school , for my daughter , I want the best and for her to be happy , god bless all you girls from middlesex lodge . X

  45. Hi Kristine Cooke.
    I remember you well from Cumberlow Lodge and I remember coming to see you in Birmingham – and all the cameras at Glenthornes. Really great to hear you have a good life now. Would love to see you again – I’ve also managed to make a good life for myself and have a fabulous son who I love to bits and who has never been in care. Sarah (Smith)

  46. I too was in Cumberlow Lodge: I stayed there in about 1984 and recall it as a horrid place where there was enforced internal examinations, threats from staff that if you stepped out of line that it would go on court reports and of girls being given ‘medicine’ (brown in colour and not sure what it was) that helped them to ‘calm down’. I recall being put in the CPU (closed provision unit) for fighting with another girl who was equally damaged.

    The staff, at that time, were generally (with one or two exceptions) cold and hard and ruled through fear. I was, after a time, assessed and sent to a school (now under police investigation so I cannot name it) and told I was fortunate to be sent there as they only accepted students with a high IQ! I absconded after a short time – the rest is not worth telling but is probably not disimilar to many others who were, at that time – like me – just children whose families either didn’t want them/couldn’t look after them (mental health alcohol issues) and who did not want to submit to the standard social care system (i.e ran away/absconded).

    I wish any young girl that attended that place good luck and hope that your lives, like mine, have panned out okay once you got to adulthood and managed to start taking care of your own lives far better than social care did (still do I think) ‘back in the day.

    God bless you all x

  47. I was in comberlow lodge in 1969, it’s only reading these stories that stuff is coming back to me. Who remembers the psychiatrist, and the guy who taught drawing?

  48. Comments take long time to be moderated.
    I had friends in comberlow,avril, Christine b, a gay girl who came to visit me when I got out and several others.
    Anyone remember, we attempted to escape using the Hoover to break window.

  49. I was at middlesex lodge a number of times during the late 80s. Firstly on drayton unit later in the secure unit. My life definately went down hill after being placed and assessed there. I also remember the mental and physical abuse that went on. I am friends with a few girls whom i knew from the lodge and we are all doing well. Finally. Living productive lives but not forgetting our fallen angels. Kerry glover, elaine foley and malaika. There is a middlesex lodge facebook page if anyone is interested in catching up with the girls x

  50. I didn’t live at any of the homes above except one that was briefly mentioned, Meadowcroft. Most of my homes were Northern bases such as Briars Hey, Redsands, residential children’s homes. & the odd “nowhere else to place except an adult psychiatric”. I moved 54 times from the age of 9-20 and the majority of placements were in place to self harming, it became my coping stratagy. My self harm would increase in secure and they were some of the most disturbing times of my life. I remember being the youngest all of my secure places and being made to clean with a toothbrush, made to wear a sign around my neck to say I was on loss of privileges. Being bullied by staff and girls, being restrained by 1 person. He was a large guy & was holding little me down withi 1 hand with all his might. My lack of education affected my adult life greatly. But to be fair I could go in and on about this dreadful time of my life however, I am lucky enough to do that every day through my work. I currently deliver training for understanding and responding to self harm & also “walking in the shoes of the child in care”. If anyone lived up north in any of the homes above in my post, it would make my day to hear from you. Much love, Regan x

  51. I was sent to the secure unit at Middlesex lodge, summer of 84, after a week my SW intervened and I got sent upstairs to the unit on the first floor.

    My second night there, the staff had taken all the kids out to Richmond ice skating rink and all the girls had done a runner (I couldn’t go as I hadn’t earned any privledges yet), the staff were so busy running around they forgot to lock us in for the night and I was up talking till daybreak to another girl who was also grounded in the opposite section of the unit, by morning most of the girls came back.

    About a week later the unit manager a scotish guy in his 50’s was getting pie-eyed and exposing himself, and the police had to be called after one of the girls complained.

    I remember a girl called Debbie who had been there about a year, was obsessed by Greece 2, she had recorded the soundtrack on to tape, which she played a lot, Jill and Brian who were decent staff and a girl called Yasmin who was in the unit upstairs.

    I remember nearly every morning playing badminton and they got a trampoline in on Wednesdays, the education was useless and they used to give you certificates in stupid things like origami or basketweaving.

    Every few weeks they would take us out on day trips to Brighton and Windsor and I remember they used to take us out for
    drives in the mini bus a lot to calm us down.

    I also remember really bizarre things like despite being 14 they let you smoke and you could buy fags from the staff which they rationed out a 4 a day.

    You were not allowed out unaccompanied, yet if you were there after a certain time, you were allowed out on weekend visits, they never checked if you were really going where you said you would and even gave you travel money, I used to just go and hang with my mate who had left care and pick up receipts of the floor at the tube station to rpove i had been somewhere i hadn’t.

    Looking back ,I don’t think it really helped vulnerable girls, ok it was a safe place but there was no therapy or life skills support.

    There were a lot of girls cutting themselves, the place was rife with bitchy insecure girls with heavy emotional problems, cooped up together 24/7.

    So glad to hear it closed down.

  52. hi I was at aycliffe school around 1980 got some bad times and good times to remember it all still plays on my mind even now at 51. it all started with refusing to go to school because I was being bullied.instead of listening they decided I was a problem sent me on to a assessment centre in Middlesbrough called broomlands from there they thought best I was sent to aycliffe because mother was a alcoholic and dad had passed away lots to tell but one thing ive had no luck with is tracing a member of staff from aycliffe who sticks in my mind who was tough but fair he even came to my wedding after I was {out of the system} id like to thank him he may not be round anymore but if he is and any can help to trace him please please do so. his name dennise hart. not sure if the hart was how he spelt his name. thanks hope to hear from someone who can help

  53. I was taken to Middlesex Lodge on the 24/08/1981, aged 14, by my social worker because I constantly absconded from every children’s home I was in. It was an awful place far worse than anywhere I have ever been before. I was also in Brookside secure unit and Heywords Hill secure unit, but had escaped so they sent me here. I did also escape from Middlesex lodge by jumping 2 floors, stupidly nearly breaking an ankle. Staff were nasty, other residents were bullies. One member of staff `Tony` was physically abusive.
    I don’t know how these institutions have not been taken to court for the crimes that have been inflicted on so many young people including myself. I am at 47 now writing my life story and Middlesex lodge including others will be in it, for sure.

  54. Hi ladies my name is jean edwards i was in middlesex lodge and cumberland lodge all around the ages of 13 years old to 15 years old, and i remember how horrible those places were , i too was totally innocent and did nothing but run away from home, but we were still treated really badly, i had a really good friend in cumberlow lodge called norma quinlan if you ever read this norma i hope you’re well and happy. This has brought back so many memories reading everybody stories i was a bout 12 or 13 when i first went to middlesex and i’m glad i was so young because i was not old enough to understand what i was going through, i bet all you ladies reading this know exactly what i mean. God bless you all girls and all the best for the future a we all deserve it lv jean

  55. There is a face book page ccumberlow lodge if you were there join you could meet up with other girls who were with you
    I was there in 73 nasty place

  56. Hello, this message is in response to John who posted in July (24th) 2014. I worked for a very short time at Middlesex Lodge in 1990/91. I trained to be a social worker at Teesside Uni and Dennis Hart was one of my tutors and I still bump into him from time to time. I would be happy to pass your details onto him or perhaps you could contact Teesside University in Middlesbrough…I’m sure someone would be able to help you. Good luck, Glynis.

  57. Hi

    I’ve tried to find the cumberlow lodge Facebook page but can’t. I was there twice in 1982 I think for a month at a time. I managed to run away during my second stage there. I remember the heliotrope room (who even knew that was a colour) the lovely overalls and socks that you had to wear and the common room and the art room. I don’t remember much else but I certainly wasn’t drugged. It is interesting to read others comments as I has brought back some dormant feelings that are helpful to me as I am still coming to terms with my childhood even at the ripe old age of 45! I think I was 12 and then 13 when I went there. I was an habitual absconder so the place was perfect for me! I have 4 fantastic children, a lovely husband and have been a foster carer since 2006, thank you for this opportunity to reflect on my childhood years, looking back I think it is very easy to blame the system, but personally I was out of control and even being put Into a “loving” family home wouldn’t have worked for me as I wouldn’t have been able to accept that at that point in my life. I eventually removed myself from London and went to live with my dad on the coast where I sorted myself out, with help from them and thankfully social services allowed me to stay.

    For the most part reading these comments I wondered what the adults that we are now would do if they were faced with children like me? I now accept that it was for my own good although at the time I obviously didn’t and it’s so easy to blame local authority for getting it wrong but for me I suppose it was the last resort. And I am so thankful that they did. I would probably be dead by now if they hasn’t I was so out of control.

  58. You can find it on facebook, type in cumberlow lodge Norwood London, I was there in 73 from January to March, I was in the medical part we were all given largactil if we refused we were put in solitary, I was not a bad person, I never committed a crime, I was quiet and shy and unable to cope, my father thought he could beat it out of me, I needed some help not the punishment I got, Barbara.

  59. I was in Middlesex lodge in 82 and 84.it also was the worse day’s of my life.i was in Drayton at first but was soon dragged to the secure unit for defending myself when often attacked. The staff also turned the other cheek. When they took me to the secure unit they waited until I was in the bath ,they made me get out through a blanket over me and 2 or 3 male staff carried me over. I could not resist as I was nude.one of the staff was a black guy called tony griefs he taught p.e.the head then was mr Hamilton and a deputy called sally her surname began with a w . Most the staff there was horrible. One slapped me in the face and when I reported it I was not believed. I went there for a 6 wk assessment the first time but stayed months as the strike was on . A male staff also spat in my face once when nobody was around. I still have nightmares and find it very hard trusting anyone around my children. I can’t believe this treatment was allowed.and there is nothing we can do about it now . The only nice staff there was a Scottish man called jimmy and a blonde lady name beginning with r . I had a really good mate there called Ann green from Croydon and a really tall girl called Joanne from east London who had a mate called cliff seagree.they helped me get through them dark days . It truly was a disgraceful place.i was in 2 other homes which were fantastic.1c the drive in Walthamstow e17 and chaworth in ottershaw ,Woking,surrey. It was fantastic there and made me the person I am today. My name was Karen Atkinson then. I feel better for writing this now and my love and heart goes out to every girl that had the unfortunate luck of going to Middlesex lodge it was truly disgusting and I was over the moon that is closed down and I hope karma has caught up on all the wicked staff that treated us so badly. God bless you all girls . I hope life is being kind to you.

  60. Hey everyone,

    I was never at Middlesex lodge but was threatened with it after repeatedly running away from my semi secure unit in Newham. We all there had heard the terrible stories of what went on at Middlesex and the thought terrified me.

    My own experiences in care at the semi secure unit Luton House were not as awful as what went on where u guys all were but as an adult now I can reflect on the procedures and practices that did occur and realise that all was not right.

    I am very keen to find some if the staff members to ask them if they were aware of everything that was going on in Luton house during my time there (as there were many staff members who were wonderful) but it’s the arseholes and evil b’stards that I would want punished now.

    I just wondered if anyone knows how I can go about finding info of staff as the unit has been closed for many years.

    I was there between feb 85 and June 86 ( tho seemed much longer at the time)

    I do hope we all can move on and away from the seriously awful treatment we were given whilst in ‘care’ and live rewarding lives that we deserve.

  61. I was at middlesex lodge 1n 1984/1985

    When i arrived at middlesex lodge i was not happy as i was having a good time in ladbroke grove and wandsworth and it was nice getting away from boring ealing. The rules at first was hard to digest in the lodge but once down in the sports hall i was fine time went so fast i left to go chaworth did not like it there ran away ended up back in middlesex lodge for another 3 months after time was up back to chaworth settled during the week and had weekends with family so i was alright and made differents. When i look back now it did me the world of good and in a routine.I never kept in contact with no one in there as when in care your always on the move.

  62. I was in Middlesex Lodge in 79 for over a year and a half, I blocked the memories out, but reading everyone’s posts it was like I was there in that cell, no clothes, no mattress with the light being turned on and off every half hour, a male member of staff came in and urinated over me.

    I am the mother of a 32 year old university graduate, I have a career in upper management and a happy life to a degree, I was diagnosed bipolar and borderline personality disorder a couple of years ago and remain on life long meds – was I there because of my mental illnesses or did that place cause it? I don’t think I will ever allow myself to know. Sad

  63. Hi all I was in Aycliffe school in 1978 were I had such a great time getting my education and getting ready to go out to normal schooling once again. Anyway if anyone would like to know were Denis hart is then I could help as he is still alive and well and still helping children. He !Ives in Stockton also miss Margaret blaizere still working but now in social services. Although I was removed from home and placed into care at Aycliff I found that looking back that it done me good as when I was at home I was always in trouble and Aycliffe sent me on the road to success. I would like to know what has happened to some of the lads that were in there when I was if they are still with us. They are piggy Watson, Chris Watson, John Clarke, John Barnes, Shaun Bink’s, Charlie magerie, Christopher littler, Dave mc cave, Martin Roberton, Andrew Chapman, the list goes on. Also I know that some staff are still at the school some have past sadley but if you know of any then please I would like to know thanks all Garry.

  64. i was in olands for a short 6 ths in mid 70s when debbie harry hit the charts i liked it there and was very happy having pocket money more than what i got at home i was in there as father was vilolent and there was no where to put me as my father went to social services and said if you dont take her away i will kill her he was so violent to all my family my mother is a messed up woman who drinks as never got any help very sad as we do not get on. at the time i hated her for staying with him and having him back all the time it was a nightmare what us kids went tho at home from a earlyage i remember he was so violent and strapped us canned us beat us it was hell. mum was beat up kitchens smashed up etc etc … so OLANDS was a safe place for me and a holiday camp as far as i was concerned i loved spending my pocket money every saturady on a single chart record as loved music i loved the food at the time even tho i sat every day not knowing big bill was a peodo who abused i had no idea he was so friendly to us SHOCK to hear this and hope his victims are getting help dreadfull…. i first walked in the building to see a girl who caused me many problems from my school in taunton who got me in to trouble she would let me where a jacket and it was stollen and i would be acused on stealling it by head .. she had problems with her father i know …. so i got her back when i got in there as she went home weekends and stole stuff clothes etc i had a friend who shared a room with her next door in out buildings bedrooms and she would give her telling off now and again .. we had a huge room for dancing and singing i loved that .. loved the days out as ice skating in bristol camping etc i found the staff fine very nice all i was no angle but i loved it there lots of people who were interesting and had there own stories to tell obviously there was some people i didnt like but we all got on quite well i liked most of the kids there i was a older one so helped out alot with the younger ones i remember a little girl who would cryalot and we had to change her under wear as always messed her self no idea what happened to her sad or why she did it had a bad time poor thing at home ?… if i got told off it was fine i had to take it on the chin and quite rightly so we had easter eggs by peopple not sure who they were some official folk visiting i loved the clothes room were if i had the key could go and get new tooth brush new knickers vests what ever we wanted we got so being spoilt as far as i was concerned we had our night out at local disco remember coming back with the wrong same style jacket and was upset as this one was newer i liked mine the best as fitted well a leather jacket i had broken it in so told staff obviously got mixed up by mistake the staff where so proud of me as a mother phoned up and it got sorted out as olands had a had reputaion ie you were a very bad person if in there there all trouble thieves etc …i was a little embarassed at school but it was ok i told every one i loved it my sister started to get naughty to go in as well as she thought she was missing out as i bragged how great it was i never had bad memeories quite the oppersite if i ever think back to those times i went to london lived the high life for a few years went out with a policeman for 9 yrs and moved about never went home after leaving school my father left my mum went off with another woman he had been seeing for yrs behind her back so we were a disfunctional family i lived in lots of places found it hard to keep long term freinds as had some anger issues still have never a violent person tho as i dont like being treated like a idiott by no one i never at the time new how to talk with out getting upset angry if upset and wish i had had some learning skills at the time ..olands taught me alot in my short time there i was not happy about clearing
    the snow from the long drive to get the mini bus out but it had to be done ha or no school etc reading some of others about there homes sounds dreadfull i was lucky i was in olands i have no idea what happened to others there as never kept in touch thanks to all the staff minus bill for making my time a good expeirence heather g 52 yrs old now my grand mother was my role model she was a teacher in bath every one needs a role model i remeber a woman called maxine and a blond lady with very curly hair who had a four posted bed she told me i loved them graet tochat to x

  65. Wow, none of the stories above relate to my experience there.
    I was in Middlesex Lodge Assessment Center (NOT the secure part) From February 1985, I was 16 years old when I was placed there when my Father and his wife claimed I was ‘unruly’ (I actually wasn’t lol)
    I have to say it was daunting when I arrived there, miles from home, and no clue where I was and why etc etc
    BUT, My time there really was pleasant, not sure if it is because I was 16 and caused no problems (Other than one time I refused to turn my stereo off and was carried down to the secure unit by 3 members of staff) ….well I was warned several times ;)

    There were a mixture of girls, self harmers, promiscuity, a pregnant 13 yr old, but 99% of the girls there just wanted to be loved!
    I remember there were 2 keyworkers there called Glenys and Melissa, I adored them, and our conversations were good.
    I got on fine with the other girls, maybe because I was older than them?
    There was one bad apple in amongst the staff, I do forget his name but he had a habit of wanting to ‘hug’ the girls very very close.

    He was reported by a girl, and not sure if she was believed as she was a very argumentative girl (Not that, that is any excuse not to be believed) , but I confirmed her story to a member of staff the day I left, as he had done the same to me. I know I WAS believed, and I hope he was fired. I did actually miss the place when I left, it set me on my way in life down the right route.

    I guess I’m just a rare lucky one from what I have read.

  66. I have read all the info and comments. Well it has to be said there would have to be a few people who got through their time at anyone of these places unscathed, I suppose!. I was not one of them. I was put into Cumberlow lodge simply for running away. Not because I was wayward ,on drugs or a criminal, I was just a child who did not want to be beaten or abused at home anymore..In those days of the late 60s and 70s children were never believed only the parents were. I remember being locked in a room with only a wooden bed at night ,the cleaning of the long corridors and being allowed despite only being 13 to have 1 cigarette after the evening meal Mon-Fri 2 on a Saturday and 3 on a Sunday. It was their way of trying to keep control.Of course I was affected by my time there but I am still here to tell my story . I was not a criminal then and nor have I ever been!. I would like to finish with this I for one am very glad and thankful for the Childrens act of 1989 and that childrens voices are HEARD NOW..

  67. Hi, I was in a few assessments centres when younger approx35-40 years b ack….The first when I was around 12-13 was Brandon Assessment Centre in Durham..was only there 6 weeks then sent home. I do rfecall it was a nice place with boys and girls in each house…i was in house 3 where Bill and Shirly were house parents….I remember Bri Goodlad, Avril n Michelle Penrose and John Keveny. The math teacher was a black gentleman called Mr Jawa whom I met a few weeks ago in Shotley Bridge Hospital but forgot his contact details as it felt good to talk about things I had kept secret.
    A couple of Years later I was sent to Newton Aycliffe Assessment Centre for 8 weeks and remenber Kev Knox, Tez Stones, Big Woggy, Danny Atherton and Danny Phelps aand Linda Fahay.
    From Aycliffe I was sent to Wellesley Nautical School for about a year but we did good things there…Tez stones followed me there with Ian Tull, Rodham, big Steve Dancer and Nigel Preston….would appreciate contact from anyone back there. Wellesley is on facebook

  68. Hi I can’t believe the way reading these have taken me back.i was at Middlesex lodge 1973 and cumberlowe 1974.my first day I arrived about 11.30 so all girls were in the school rooms a Mr Bryant took me round and then said you have to wear these dresses flowery with a zip up front he chose the tightest shorted one that I had to squeeze into.he then said we have to do chores when not in lessons so he told me I had to polish the floor.yes right in front of him.there was an African lady called Mrs adyinka she was nice but went into rages for nothing that’s when Mr Bryant would step in to comfort you on his bloody lap while shaking and trembling with his bast fat dangly moustache yuk.saterday Norns cleaning top to bottom then being allowed an hour of TV space 1999 then dinner in big trays and a whole tray of eggs that had been baked in oven rubber.evenings knotting or crochet for hours and I remember me a girl black girl called Sonia and Toni lavocah we made our language up u u uvaguvat least we thought we did (may have been cumberlowe) carol always trying to hang herself with her nightie.getting our 3 Fags a day after 10.30 break then lunch then supper god how did we do it.after each meal knifes forks spoon all counted.and bath times in morning in them big high old freezing baths with a green rubber curtain.i still smell the horrible red soap and powdery toothpaste.locked in cold cell for hours or all night for mostly trivial shit.then the little tiny store room with the smelly rubber sports mats on p.e day and who was the pe instructor sweaty Bryant with his moustache and whistle god you pervert

  69. I was in Middlesex lodge twice once when I was about fourteen and once in 81-82,
    I can remember on my first time the admissions bath as previous mentioned in others comments as well as our cell like rooms as well as going to the sinks first thing in morning to clean our teeth with the hard toothpaste that had been placed on our toothbrushes some time before we were awake,
    After each meal everyone left the dining table except the smokers we remained there for one of our four fags of the day a member if staff would give a light to one of is then it was up to us to pass our fag round to others to get a light we had to remain there till we had finished I remember a lot if my time there was spent in the downstairs isolation unit,
    My next visit was in 91/92 it was this time I learned how to crochet sitting in the day room on the wooden armchairs where we had to be throughout the day I can remember Charles and Diana’s wedding as we were allowed the tv on to watch it and during that stay it was my daughters 1st birthday so they allowed me to bake a cake for an extra visit from my parents and daughter,
    I remember becoming good friends with a girl called Sarah who came from Romford which was about 2 miles from where I was from and we met up once or twice when we left I also remember once during exercise one of the girls mad a run for it over the gate but was quickly stopped by a tall male member of staff who just reached up and pulled her shorts,
    Also Tuesday night was beauty night if you earned it they allowed a very few to go into a room where you could paint your nails under supervision little did they realize we only wanted to get in there to sniff the nail varnish remover,
    Also as special treat one evening the took few of us to airport fence to watch planes arrive and depart for about an hour (how exciting)
    Yet again on this visit I ended downstairs in isolation unit,
    Both good and bad memories made at Middlesex lodge but I put bad ones to back of my head

  70. Hi I was in Brandon assesment center Durham 1987 where I remember a woman called Milly looking after us, me and my young daughter, in the flat until my daughter was taken away and I was placed in Aycliff secure unit was called Roysten at the time and the boss was Dr Aggogi. Could anyone help me? I’m trying to find the people that ran Brandon assesment center at the time because they took my daughter Lisa Marie Moran for a while before she was adopted. Help me if you can please.

  71. I was in Brandon in 1982. Can anyone. Remember a man called John chapman. He used to be one of the workers on unit 2 I also remember. Eileen. Lesley Audrey. Duncan they were all workers there. It was run by. Mr and Mrs Davison. And mr and Mrs rams haw and. A man called mr Ferguson , one of the teachers was a black man. Think you called him. My Harley. Or summit like that. I can honestly say I was treat very well and have some good memories of the place. John chapman and a woman called Lesley. Had a big part in my life. In there. We’d love to hear from them if anyone knows the whereabouts of them , I also made some good friends in there. Who I d love to. Hear from.

  72. I was in Brandon in 1982 was in unit 2 then went to unit 1 I remember. The staff. Well some of them , John chapman , and Lesley Who were staff on unit 2 , Millie Eileen on unit 3 and Duncan , mark , and Audrey on unit 1, I would love to hear from John chapman and Lesley don’t remember her surname , they played a big part in my life while I was there , also made some good friends while in there and can say that I was well treated while I stayed there ….

  73. My name is Karen I was in Middlesex lodge 83/84. I had some great times there. I’d love to talk to some old friends I made there. There was a black girl called Esther who I loved I believe she was deported. Susan who had a cross eye absolutely heretical. Cheryl I used to do withie board with. Any of you out there please get in touch xx

  74. I was in cumberlow lodge from july to October 1982. I was an American girl just visiting my mom she had been living in London for about 10 years by then she was married to an English man and was a citizen I was being raised by my great aunt in the states she did not know what a horrible situation I was walking into even though she took custody of me from my mom when I was just 5 my trip to mom then cumberlow lodge was a nightmare from beginning to end I will try to make a long story short the very day I got there I kinda saw how things were gonna be there was a bloody mist on the bathroom wall there was a man sleeping on the couch and another man that she was seeing then the bowl I cried to my mom about the pot I didn’t want her to do those things she politely told me to stop lwas making her feel guilty for something she enjoyed doing needles to say things got alot worse when I found the needle in her purse I knew l was on my own l wanted to run home but wasn’t ready to give up the freedom I had with my mom i enrolled in school Langdon park then st Phillip Howard meanwhile my mom took me partying with her nightly l was only 13 she gave me some white powder called sulfate and told me it would keep me awake for the party I liked it a little to much I don’t think I have to tell you what I was doing next along the way I saw and heard some awful things that I wish I hadn’t I once heard her fighting with one of her boyfriends and then I heard her scream and run up the stairs and start a bath l went down the stairs and I saw a puddle and her nightie on the floor eventually I had stayed past my 6 month visa and immigration came to see me twice then a few weeks later the police came because of something one of my moms druggie friends did the flat was searched and I was taken to cumberlow lodge l don’t have a great memory but that place was so traumatic I easily remember every detail 35 years later l was checked in by Mrs. Behay l had to take off my nail polish she listed every thing I brought with me then put it in property I was not able 2 keep one thing not one toiletry or any of the things we need every day and take for granted with the exception of 2 sets of clothes legates my room with a girl named Janet she was being treated for scabies staff members who worked there were Mrs akutu Mrs Dixon Mrs mc cloud Mrs Behay and mr belay i. Was in bronte l had a few friends in swift group one was named Juliet we never saw the girls in Byron i remember the 3 cigarettes a day cleaning the house every day doing our laundry in the bathtubs there were about 10 in a row on both sides our bath time was at 4 right before dinner it was awful in that place everyone was there to long getting out was what seemed like an impossible dream on sure none of us will ever forget l have read all the allegations of abuse I was never physically abused there and certainly never witnessed any physical abuse I said physical I do agree with the others how bad it was you would have to be there to know what I am talking about finally in October 1982 I made it to he’s throw airport back to the states with my aunt who l consider my mom the anger I carried for so long was for my biological mother not cumberlow lodge she died a few years ago from breast cancer i knew I probably owed her a few tears but I can’t give what I don’t have now at the age of 48 I have 4 kids and a wonderful husband I’ve been with for 23 years I have not been perfect lve screwed up plenty of times along the way but l must have done something right all my kids are contributing members of society one works for channel 10 news and one is an emt thank you for letting me tell my story about my days before during and after my months at cumberlow lodge 35 years ago it has helped me it was so long ago and far away I’d love to hear from all and any of you one more little thing after coming back to the states l kept in touch with a staff member named Jackie I’d love to hear from her too thanks

  75. hi al my name is gill i was sent to chadswell in 1977/78 for running away from home i was seeing a lad on the fair and my dad reported me missing police came arrested me took me to the detention room i was there all night then next morning i had 2 men and a woman come see me said they were taking me to chadswell 1 of them was name bill hitchin i got there it looked a very daunting place they imidiatly took me to the shower rooms made me have a shower in this hibi scrub then had to put these clothers on i think it was brown socks top and sweater the jumper used to make me itch we were allowed 5 fags a day, i remember going to bed 1 night and woke up 2 girls trying to suffocate me with a pillow i didnt dare tell on them another time they locked me in a small cuboard from wot i can remebr isnt much as since leaving there i had a baby in 1979 then she passed away age 2 i thought i was been punished for running away ect ,but she died of natural cause had big break down was in hospital for 6 month during that time they gave me ECT electric cardio treatment nearly 3 to 4 times a week i was like a zombie and its damaged part of my memory and no i cant remeber stuff like my baby and lots of other stuf i remeber we made a osng up about chadswell come to chadswell come to chadswell its a place you dont wanna be i cant remeber the rest lol i wa sthere for 6 weeks and was so glad to come out i went to live with my dad and things went well im now 55 happy in a relatio ship no more chldren as i am unable to i have health problems but hey lifes has to go on so if any one else was in the home around that time contact me through a comment or look me up on face book

  76. Hi my name is arita, I was placed at middlesex lodge in 1990- because social service could not find a home for me. After leaving a abusive and valiant family and starved at my parents home.
    I thought I would feel safe in a children’s home, but no I was stripped nocked and drawn on and beaten by the girls in the home and staff just closed the office door, and turned a blind eye.
    Staff threatened me and all I experienced was bad abuse.
    I was literally terrified.
    I haven never forgot it, as I begged my social worker and southall social services, but they never listened to me.
    But one day I woke up bruised from being beaten.
    I was moved to frant court in 1991 and I thank God for this as I started to slowly get my confidence back.
    Nightmare that I don’t want to remember.

    Lots of love to all the girls and God bless you all xxx

  77. Hello,
    I did not expect to read here anyone I knew, I can only Just about remember,
    Diane Patten,
    the name, and Diane you had a pink mohican,
    you were leaving when I was arriving.
    I understand why nobody in 1983 Feb- Summer, Middlesex Lodge, will write here, or look at or for a site like this.
    I remember for girls when I was there on top floor then second for 6 months, Life for everyone there was pretty dull, and when we all watched TV together, smoking our one fag, it was a moment to cherish, to escape the tedious boredom that wreaked havoc with the young lively imaginations we had, there wasnt much creativity:
    we were expected to do that i think on our own personal time, which was abit dodgey, but thankfully with no oppurtunities to hurt ourselves, and get in trouble we managed to invent some form of happiness, together, but i dont think others were same as i was, in thier own private little worlds.
    I was in This Remand home, for becoming a gradual nuisance, and offender, i wanted to be naughty to get away from my dysfunctional family , thankfully psychiatrist and social workers were spot on about me, and I knew they cared because they were very attentative, not always right, and i was falsely accused once, but i understood staff were as daft as me, but i always had respect for the hard work they put into caring for us, In an odd way i loved them, as my own family, and feel affectionate for them even now, i never got in touch but , i will never forget them.
    After the Middlesex lodge , i ended back with dysfunctional family but with far more better insight of what being loved felt like, and it strengthened me to stand on my own two feet eventually. Yes I still feel some bad experiences are hard to heal, it would been better If i stayed at Middlesex lodge a year, but The staff let me go sooner, and I was really traumatised by having my wish granted, I realised only after leaving there , how much I was really loved, and how this gave me a sense of belonging, but id have to leave eventually anyway.
    I didnt fully stop being a petty offender, but I did grow up, in a good way, and no longer one now, Iam thankfull for places like middlesex lodge, or i could have gone into prison, unjustly so, as i wasnt a real criminal, and prison would have damaged me, I would have been exposed to too much reality too

  78. I was in middlesex 84-85 and was later transferred to chaworth.. The days still haunt me now,but like many of others,have had a great life since leaving care. The understanding of a child in them days was clearly non-existent!!

  79. Hi All.
    I was in Cumberlow Lodge in the 70s
    the reason me being there because I bunked off school as I was badly bullied.
    the place was a hell hole and no child/teenager should have to go through that amount of abuse
    me made it through though xx

  80. I was in Cumberlow lodge for 8 months 82/83. I always remember going to cooking classes and would always bump into another group coming out. That was only time we saw them as they never came out in the tennis courts when we where able to go out there…. I can’t remember many girls to be honest as they came and went and at one point I think I was the longest in there. However I do remember one girl Rosaline she was so horrible to me which I could handle until her best friend arrived. They both was bullying me so much that one day in the classroom I flipped and ended up in the horrid cell room. Myself and the girl was pregnant and she got my place for mother and babies unit in Beckenham as I was in hospital…. when I finally got a place she had gone around the unit telling everyone I use to beat her up so everyone was against me when I arrived….

    I can’t remember many staff at Cumberlow lodge other then this one lady that would give me a head massage if I had a headache. Remember the bedrooms well tho all wooden fixed furniture think in green and a non breakable mirror and bars on the window. My view was the front so I was able to see the gates in the distance

  81. Long shot here dose any one remember me Middlesex Lodge sercure unit back in 84/85 little blond from Upminster /Romford looking for some of the girls I was in with one of my closest Rachael Andrews has Sadly past many years ago now I was in both sides mainly the sercure melany una Tracey I had half a finger also I was the one with broken toes and put in to plaster I escaped from the secure unit I could not cope with the constan abuse from key workers most of us girls stuck together we faced so much in there it really affected me for many years and still suffer ptsd x I have three grown kids and eight beautiful grandchildren x I would love to get in to contact with any of the girls x


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