Malvern Summer Garden Party - venue for receipt of 2021 Civic Society Award

Michael Hodges Director of Broadway Heritage hosted a Garden Party in Ranelagh Road in Malvern on 28th August for residents of the restored and converted St Leonard’s House and new development Gospel Place.

The Garden Party – including tent, bunting, and Abbot & Green refreshments - took place on Saturday on the lawn in front of St Leonard’s House. The garden at St Leonard’s, much embellished by one of the residents Patti Mackie, provided the perfect backdrop on what turned out to be a warm sunny afternoon.

 

The event marked the birth of the small but beautifully formed new community in Ranelagh Road and provided the opportunity for residents to get to know each other and put a name to a face. Michael Hodges said, “It was delightful for me to see the residents enjoying their conversations and exchanging anecdotes of how they came to be living here. For me as a developer it’s not just about bricks and mortar but about community and this event was designed to help people here feel that they really belong.” It was much enjoyed by over 30 of the residents and guests, including four leading officers of the Malvern Civic Society.

The Society’s Chairman Andrew Huntley took advantage of the occasion to present Michael Hodges with their 2020 Civic Society Award. He was Highly Commended ‘for conserving Malvern’s architectural heritage’ – namely St Leonard’s House – formerly known as Salvation House. (Part of the former convent complex the building is now 6 luxury apartments and duplexes.) The pandemic last year had prevented the presentation of the Award.

Mr Huntley said, “This was rather a neglected part of Malvern and Michael has done a wonderful job in reviving it. The word is regeneration. You [the residents] are part of that process. It's a lovely bit of Malvern and it's so good that you're living here and will be able to enjoy it.”

Michael Hodges said, “I was very pleased to receive this Award, and celebrate it with the residents now living here. I very much hope that they will continue the summer Garden Party as a tradition in future. In the past two years we have all come to recognise how important it is to have good neighbours and look out for each other, and this is my small contribution to help that happen in Ranelagh Road.”

Gospel Place, Broadway’s most recent development comprising 14 unique new-build homes – has been shortlisted for the Civic Society’s 2021 Award, in competition with other local buildings of heightened architectural interest.

 

 

St Leonard’s House, Malvern Link – Home to many since 1871

 

St Leonard’s House, Malvern Link – 28th August 2021

Roger Morgan's
Malvern Memories

A trip down a Malvern memory lane for Roger Morgan

Some fascinating insight into the fact that Malvern’s former Convent of the Holy Name was slipping gently into decline in the late 1960’s has been provided by retired council officer Roger Morgan.

He was responding to our appeal for memories of the convent which was established back in 1879 and was home for some 250 nuns in its heyday.

Roger, now aged 75, who was born in Malvern Link, first remembers being asked by one of the nuns to tread more softly when entering St Matthias Church for Sunday School.

“I was six or seven at the time and think I must have had particularly noisy shoes which seemed to irritate this particular nun,” he recalled.

But Roger’s real insight into the convent’s decline came surprisingly after he went to work in the former Malvern Urban District Council’s rates offices in his early twenties.

“I volunteered for some extra cash by helping to update the Council’s annual Register of Electors and was given the area which included the convent, he recalled.

“So, every year I would send the Mother Superior a copy of the register and she would go through it and cross out the names of all the sisters who were no longer there,” said Roger, who now lives in Hill View Close, Malvern Link.

But she would also send me a covering note with a hand-written list of the new arrivals but the list, which was up to two pages long at the start, was in decline by the time I left to join the Worcester Council Housing Department, some five years later,” he said.


Joan Evan's
Malvern Memories

Joan takes a trip down a Malvern memory lane.

Malvern resident Joan Evans, now in her 89th year is, literally, well placed to respond to our appeal for memories of the town’s former Convent of the Holy Name and successor Salvation Ministries Gospel Centre.

For she came to live in Merick Road, close to the convent, almost sixty years ago and still lives there today.

Our appeal is being made in association with conservation specialists Broadway Heritage who have just converted the Grade Two listed building into new homes for the 21st Century.

“The convent in those days was home to both sisters and novices, some of whom helped out at St Matthias and Newland Church and my sons attended a Sunday School at the convent for a few weeks before going to the church,” she recalled

The land where the pensioners’ bungalows are today was an orchard where the sisters kept bee hives and were self- sufficient in fruit and honey and the site of the Merick Road doctors’ surgery was a kitchen garden with a rose garden next door, said Joan.

“After a while the sisters made a home for unmarried mothers and the rose garden became a space for games and I can still remember them playing netball there,” Joan said.

“The field at the top of our road, now part of the Spring Lane Business Park, was used for growing vegetables and rhubarb which was made into wine and three men and a tractor were employed there,” Joan recalled.


Malvern convent and Gospel Centre memory lane appeal

Do you have personal memories of The Convent of the Holy Name in Ranelagh Road, which closed back in 1989, or of the former Day of Salvation Ministries Gospel Centre which succeeded it.

Maybe you or a member of your family were employed there or perhaps were helped in some way by the nuns or the Gospel Centre.

We will publish some of your memories on our blog page and the writer of the best letter will be invited to cut a ribbon to reopen a grade two listed building which has been converted into apartments by conservation specialists Broadway Heritage.

The company, which has a proven track record for breathing new life into old buildings by their sensitive conversion into homes for the 21st century, has now completed the first six apartments.

Managing Director Michael Hodges said work on a further fourteen homes was underway and the whole project was on course for completion next March.

“The site has a fascinating history with the 1879 established convent, being home to some 250 nuns in its heyday before eventually closing and later becoming a Gospel Centre,” he said.

“So, we felt it would be rather nice to bring it back to life by seeking the memories and recollections of local people whose lives or families had been influenced by either the convent or the Gospel Centre over the past fifty years,” said Michael.

Please send your responses by letter to Malvern Memories Coordinator Nigel Heath at The Cottage, Common Rd, Mitchel Troy, Monmouth NP 25 4JB or by email to Nigel@media-Consult.co.uk.

If you have any pictures then please only send copies.