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Image number 1116
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Police Training Centre, Nutfield. Unknown date. Aerofilms Ltd.

Police Training School, Holmesdale House, Coopers Hill Road, Nutfield, Surrey.

The first Holmesdale House was built, we think, around 1820. It was close up to Coopers Hill Road. It was owned first by the Budgen family, then by Henry Gurney of Nutfield Priory fame. In his time it was always leased to a series of occupiers, none of any great importance.

The present Holmesdale House was built in 1886 by Charles Maw, a very wealthy manufacturing chemist, best known for babies' feeding bottles and hot water bottles. Doubtless they made many other things.Charles Maw was a benefactor to Nutfield, giving a village hall and the recreation ground. The architect for the new house was F.J.Dibble of Dorking. He moved the site of the house about 100 yards to the south-west, so that it is on the crest of the Greensand Ridge, commanding extensive views over the Weald. Charles Maw died in 1905.

The Maws were followed by the McAlpine family (Building & Construction) who lived there up to the 1939-45 war. The house was then requisitioned by the military, and served for a time as the HQ of the Canadian 2nd Army.

In 1946 the house was presented to Guys Hospital by two of its Governors, one being Mr W.McAlpine. The Guys Hospital Nurses Preliminary Training School operated there from 1946 to 1965. It was followed by the Police School. I am not able to give precise dates for the latter. Subsequently it was run for a time as a residential nursing home, then lay empty for several years.

More recently Holmesdale House was converted to luxury apartments by Persimmon Homes, and an additional block was added at the east end. It is a gated development with extensive grounds.

There is a photo, circa 1900, on page 294 of 'Nutfield; Our Village Since Domesday', published by Nutfield Local History Group in 2000. The book is now out of print, but Redhill Library has copies. The photo is copyright of Surrey History Centre. They have another in the same collection which shows the first Holmesdale House in the background.
Comment 1

Sally Anderson from Steyning posted this comment on Saturday 03 July 2010 11:34:00.

My father, Norman Cleaver bought Holmesdale in the mid to late 1970's and was planning on converting it to a country club and hotel but due to ill health and more damp and dry rot than he first thought he sold it on in the early 1980's when it was made into a nursing home.

Comment 2

Mike Hudd from Chard, Somerset posted this comment on Friday 06 August 2010 23:35:00.

Charles Maw was my Great Great Grandfather and he lived at Holmesdale with his sixteen children and his late wife's half sister 'Emily Sharwood'. Charles wife, 'Julia', had died at the age of 38 after the birth of their sixteenth child in 1878 - before Holmesdale was built. Charles Maw died on 5th January 1905 and by 1919 Emily Sharwood had moved to Eastbourne to live with two of Charles daughters. As most of the children had moved out to homes of their own by then, Holmesdale was eventually sold on 10th November that year.

I am engaged in a huge amount of research about my Gt. Gt Grandfathers family, so If anyone has any information, photos or anekdotes about Holmesdale or the Maws, please could you contact me on 01460 66077. (Note to Website manager - Please could you leave my contact number on here or let people know my email address. Thank You.)

Comment 3

Doug Cable from East Malling posted this comment on Tuesday 12 April 2011 17:49:00.

I attended Holmesdale for my initial police training from January - April 1969.Great to see an aerial view but it does seem larger than I remember. Police training was quite austere in those days but I enjoyed every minute of it. We did use the pub next door to supplement the atrocius meals we were served!

Comment 4

Joan Johnston from New York posted this comment on Friday 17 June 2011 19:23:00.

I have just come across this photo - I have a picture of myself and a friend in our Guy's uniforms sitting on the steps in front of the building in 1960 when we were in the PTS. I remember the gardens and the woods with daffodils and bluebells. (Coming from sooty Manchester I was very impressed!)

Comment 5

Brian Quinn from Worthing posted this comment on Sunday 25 December 2011 13:20:00.

I attended N06 District Police Training College Nutfield from October 1966 -February 1967 due to the usual College at Sandgate in Kent being full to bursting point with new recruits.Nutfield was used as a temporary overspill school.I was PC 327 Brian Quinn of the West Sussex Constabulary later to be amalgamated with the other Sussex Forces.I was use to the military style discipline but the learning side was tough going.The college was in a lovely setting the back garden would look down a hillside to what now is the M23.It brings back bitter sweet memories.Unfortunately I was there during the winter months so the beautiful Surrey countryside could not be fully appreciated.

Comment 6

john willis from Dorset posted this comment on Thursday 19 April 2012 16:42:00.

I was there on police training from about Jan 1967 - PC 484 of Berkshire Constabulary. One of our tutors was Sgt Humpage.

Comment 7

Judith Oakley from West Sussex posted this comment on Tuesday 21 August 2012 17:59:00.

I worked at Holmesdale Park as a Nursing Sister from about 1983 - 1986 when it opened as a luxury residential hotel for the elderly. It then developed into a nursing home, when guests for the hotel wing didn't materialise. For a while I lived in a chalet in the grounds. I have some great memories and some stories to tell of mostly good times there.

Comment 8

Anna Felton-Page from Leominster posted this comment on Saturday 09 February 2013 18:50:00.

Member of my family are registered living here in 1871m I would love an image of the house for my family archives - how do I obtain one please?

Comment 9

Peter Mcpherson from Penzance posted this comment on Tuesday 11 June 2013 21:37:00.

I served my final continuation course here from the Kent force in 1972. I can remember this fine old house and spent a happy 2 weeks there making a couple of good friends at the same time. It seems those really were the best times.

Comment 10

Sarah Stebbing from Great Yarmouth posted this comment on Tuesday 12 November 2013 15:18:00.

I also worked at Herondale whilst it was a Nursing home, between 1983-1986. It was a beautiful place to work, a place I shall never forget!

Best years of my life.

Comment 11

Jan Howell from Nutfield posted this comment on Tuesday 26 November 2013 14:03:00.

We have lived in what was the 'garden cottage' to Holmesdale House since '92. It had remained in the same ownership of Holmesdale House until '78 when it was sold at auction as a separate property. It is known as Nursery Cottage. Over the years I have researched Holmesdale House in the hope of obtaining old photo's of Nursery Cottage, all to no avail. I would be so very interested in any old information or photo's anyone may have of Holmesdale Estate especially our cottage. I am happy to publish my number 07710655905.

Comment 12

Sally Ann Day from Coalbrookdale posted this comment on Saturday 24 January 2015 12:03:00.

I arrived at Holmesdale in March 1962 as a new recruit to the Guy's Hospital Preliminary Training School. I came from Central Africa the previous December, so my experience of the spring in the Surrey countryside was wonderful, and so new to me, as was the main house. We stayed for 3 months only, but the memories stay with me still.

Comment 13

Penelope Carnall Davidson from Haywards Heath, West Sussex posted this comment on Tuesday 14 July 2015 18:43:00.

I was at Holmesdale in 1963 as a new Guy's Nurse. There were 63 of us in my October set. I remember we had to do the housework every morning as part of our training to be meticulous in our standard of hygiene. Our housework was inspected by a Sister Tutor and we were made to do it again if it did not come up to Guy's standard! It was a lovely place - and so very clean!

Comment 14

David Glew from Broadstairs posted this comment on Sunday 01 March 2020 16:30:18.

I also received my initial police training at Holmesdale from 1967 having joined the then Kent County Constabulary, now Kent Police, and remember Sergeant Humpage.i eventually served 15 years in Kent.

Comment 15

Colin McDonald from Maidenhead posted this comment on Tuesday 02 June 2020 12:38:41.

I attended Course No.15 at Nutfield Police Training Centre from 8th October 1967 to 5th January 1968 having joined the Berkshire Constabulary. The resident officers were Supt. J.C.Laing (OIC), Inspector R.F.Andrews (Admin), Sgt J.M.Smyth (Drill Instructor), Sgt A.E.Webb (Physical Training Instructor), and Sgt Tudor White (Class Tutor). There were 25 recruits in my course from East Sussex, Hampshire, Hastings, Kent, Surrey and West Sussex forces. I completed 28 years service with Berkshire Constabulary then on amalgamation (1968) Thames Valley Police retiring in 1995 with the rank of sergeant.

Comment 16

Tony White from Woking posted this comment on Saturday 25 July 2020 17:18:15.

My grandfather, William Molloy White worked for the McAlpine family at Holmesdale, Nutfield for most of the 1930's as a groom and lived in a house in the grounds, also, I believe a Mr Burgess and a Mr Rhodes worked there as gardeners at a similar time. I would be pleased to hear from anyone with any information and/or pictures of Holmesdale, thanks.

Comment 17

Dawn Blaikley-Colwill from Ellesmere Shropshire posted this comment on Monday 17 August 2020 16:10:18.

I am writing a life history for my children and wanted to include mention of my time as a Guys student nurse at Holmesdale in Spring 1957, so I was delighted to find this website. We were at training school for 3 months before going to the hospital for our main training. Our sister tutor was a Miss Janet James an amazing lady who was always reminding us of how privileged we were to be training at Guys. One of my happiest memories was walking in the bluebell woods nearby.

Comment 18

Fiona Allan from Waterloo, Belgium posted this comment on Tuesday 08 December 2020 08:56:00.

My mother in law, Patricia Hayward, and her 2 sisters, Dorothy and Joan, were evacuated from London during the war and were billeted at Holmesdale with the McAlpine family, albeit in a separate part of the house. She told me about life at this magnificient house, with servants, liveried footmen, chauffeurs, grooms etc. It's wonderful for me to see a photo of the house from around that time. 'd love to see one of the grounds.

Comment 19

Frank Hales from Corlette NSW Australia 2325 posted this comment on Wednesday 30 December 2020 03:20:07.

I also attended intial police training at Nutfield in 1967 as a 20yr old recruit (PC1070) of the Surrey Constabulary. I have fond memories of my time there and my fellow recruits and instructors. I went on to serve 3 years at Chertsey, in Surrey, then transferred to the Metropolitan Police where I served for some 8 years, in L Div and as a mounted officer. I then emigrated to Australia where after a other careers I joined the Australian Federal Police in 1988, during which time I also served as a peacekeeper with the UN, I retired as a Det Supt in 2002. Passing out at Nutfield is still one of the most proudest days of my life in my 74 years.

Comment 20

David Kelly from Surrey posted this comment on Thursday 13 May 2021 13:36:18.

I lived in the apartment on the 2nd floor after Persimmon developed Holmesdale Park with the corner bay window on the left. Persimmon did a great job with the renovations and I know why Charles Maw moved the house closer to the edge of the ridge! The views are spectacular on a clear day!

Comment 21

Reginald Weeks from Hailsham nr Eastbourne posted this comment on Tuesday 01 June 2021 21:53:38.

I attended Nutfield Police Training Centre around 1972 on a continuation course during my Police Constable Probationary Training, I remember it with pleasant memories but not a lot of detail unfortunately, I also attended my Initial Training at No.6 District Training Centre in Sandgate, Kent Course No. 252 Class 2, I joined Surrey Constabulary in Jan 1970 - 1974 stationed in Guildford, Woking then Chertsey Traffic my co-driver was PC Dick Brake.

Comment 22

Mr. Gerald Rowland Bridges from Tonbridge posted this comment on Friday 20 October 2023 11:45:42.

I have a record of a Miss Doris Black who worked for the Mc Alpine Family at Holmsdale House Nutfield Surrey. It is on A3 paper three pages long. It states where she first started in service for them in Thortonhall Clyde, Scotland. Doris Black story really starts from 1918 when she worked in the shipyards on the Clyde. Her father worked As an engineer for Sir Robert McAlpine, sadly he was killed in Lincolnshire while they were relaying the G.N.E. Railway. Please contact me if you would like to no more.

This image was uploaded on Saturday 08 March 2003 23:29:16.

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