You will probably have seen our DVS photographer, Adrian Giddins, at many village and DVS events. We keep photographic records of our activities and use these to illustrate our newsletter and website. They are also added to the DVS Photo Archive which is a unique set of images, collected and managed for many years by Rob Gordon and more recently by Adrian. (Please let us know if you don’t wish any photos of yourself to be used.)
ALDIN HOUSE AND CHAPEL
Our first visit of 2018, on 24 March, was to Aldin House and Chapel, two Grade II Listed buildings at St Bernard’s Catholic Grammar School in Slough. The site has a fascinating social, industrial, educational and architectural history, some published and some being currently researched and pieced together by DVS committee member and heritage designer Paul Bonnici-Waddingham, and Slough historian Tony Sargeant, both hosts of our visit.
The original school was attended by Percy de Paravicini of Datchet, among others. Jock Kinross of Riding Court also sent his daughters here. At the start of WWI, the school accommodated a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital where many Datchet women volunteered, helping to care for the wounded soldiers. Links to the village continue to this day.
Our visit began in the front grounds of the school where the Dolphin Inn once stood, on the important London to Bath mail-coach run, and where ‘pleasure gardens’ attracted day visitors to an otherwise agricultural area. We then explored the lower floors of Aldin House, a fine example of mid-Victorian Italianate architecture which was built prospectively in the 1860s as a private residence using bricks made on the grounds. (At the time brickworks were a major local industry.) Within a few years of being completed, the still unoccupied house and grounds were leased to an Eton Master to create a preparatory school for younger Etonians – St Michael’s – resulting in further development of the site and the loss of the Inn. This marked the beginnings of the site’s heritage in education provision. The chapel, the next part of our tour, bookends the extended range of buildings to the west and has been attributed to the architect Gilbert Scott with later extension by Alfred Waterhouse, designer of London’s Natural History Museum. We then headed back into Aldin House, to explore the basement and the upper floors, and finished our visit with a refreshments in the hall.
For events in 2017, please click here
For events in 2016, please click here
For events in 2015 or earlier, please click here.
For the DVS Photo Archive, please click here.