Former Chailey scholar, Jack Hayward, writes a review:

Grace Kimmins and her Chailey Heritage. By Ros Black.

 

Even with my close association with the Heritage Craft Schools in my formative years at Chailey and a personal knowledge of Grace Kimmins, later Dame, I found this book to be deeply moving. I am not what you might call an original thinker so as a child at the Heritage I never gave the origins of Chailey a second thought, nor for that matter did I ever consider the Commandant, as Dame Grace was called, to be out of the ordinary, apart that is, from her personal choice of dress.

 

However as I have learned from this extremely well researched book she was indeed an extraordinary woman with a profound social conscience, a person who carried her sincere beliefs throughout her life, and whose achievements would be nigh impossible to fulfil today, indeed it would be difficult for any such person to raise the vast amount of resources that she did in her lifetime.

 

From a nondescript start in life her successes came about because she pricked the conscience of high society and the wealthy to the plight of poor disabled children in the slums of London, she was able to gather around her many influential and philanthropic women with similar visions as her own, none more so than Princess Louise the daughter of Queen Victoria who became an ardent patron, I can’t imagine any woman with a similar background to Grace Kimmins attracting the patronage of the Royal Family today, which was so vital to her cause.

 

I found the description of the autumn years of Dame Grace’s life utterly moving; it seemed that after a pioneering lifetime of one struggle after another it was beginning to disintegrate around her; it was undoubtedly heartbreaking for her to lose her lifelong friend and supporter Alice Rennie, she had been with Grace from her early days, this was followed later with the loss of her husband Charles who was inspirational in the field of education.

 

With these two pillars of strength missing from her life Grace still had the tangible highpoints of her achievements surrounding her; prominent amongst them was St Georges the residential home for 150 disabled children, followed by St Martin’s hospital and the magnificent chapel that gladdens the eye and of course St Helen’s Heritage for disabled girls.

 

But circumstances beyond her control were yet to deliver another blow to Grace, when at the pinnacle of her success, she witnessed the formation in 1948 of the NHS, but sadly with its creation she was to lose the pivotal raison d’etre of her very being, and reluctantly she had no option but to stand aside and allow the prestigious management of her beloved Heritage Craft Schools be taken from her. Despite her declining years and this bitter episode in her life Grace continued to take a keen interest in the welfare of Chailey, but after 45 years of humanitarian giving this time it was to be from the sideline.

Dame Grace’s life had been one driven by compassion and caring for others; she was a visionary who wanted to give opportunities to the disabled and less fortunate, starting with the deprived and poor children from the slums of London and finishing with a world-renowned medical and educational facility in the heart of the Sussex countryside, one that was shaped around the needs of severely disabled children and war injured soldiers. It was an achievement of a simple woman but one of greatness.

 

This book is a good read and hard to put down until the end is reached. It has 208 pages and is well illustrated and at only £10 with profits going to the Chailey Heritage Trust it is thoroughly recommended.  J.H.

Price includes £2.20 postage & packaging

New book

Read the fascinating story of Grace Kimmins, from her social work in the Bermondsey slums in the 1890s, the founding of her unique craft school for disabled boys in Chailey, Sussex in 1903, through two World Wars, to the takeover of Chailey Heritage by the NHS in 1948.

£12.20

 

Posted in Bermondsey, book reviews, books by Ros Black, Chailey Heritage, Chailey Heritage Foundation, Chailey Old Scholars, Grace Kimmins, Guild of Play, Guild of the Brave Poor Things, Sisters of the People, West London Mission, Sister of the People, Bermondsey Settlement, Chailey Heritage Foundation, women's history, World war One | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Talk at The Keep, East Sussex Records Office Tuesday 31st October 5.30

 

Most of the Chailey Heritage archives are kept at The Keep so, when researching my book, I spent many happy days there looking at old files and photographs. The staff were very patient with all my requests.

I shall be giving a talk at The Keep on 31st October on Grace Kimmins and her Chailey Heritage.

Click on the link below to book your place

http://www.thekeep.info/events/grace-kimmins-chailey-heritage/

 

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Grace Kimmins and her Chailey Heritage Book reviews

The new book was well received at the launch at Chailey Heritage on 12th October.

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It was lovely to meet up with some former Chailey pupils who have been so helpful to me in my researches.

Some of the many comments received about the book are:

“Very readable and very well-judged – I like it very much” – Graham Taylor, historian and biographer of Ada Salter, Grace’s flatmate in Bermondsey.

“A mammoth task researching and filtering through 100 years of history but you did it and I for one am so grateful; it brought back so many happy memories, the smiles, the laughter, the singing, the pageantry, the sports…” Sylvester Dale, a Chailey old scholar

“You clearly had the audience enthralled by your account of Grace’s life. You have a real knack for story telling” – Helen Hewitt, Chief Executive Chailey Heritage Foundation

The book £10 plus £2.20 p&p can be ordered by clicking the button below

New book

Read the fascinating story of Grace Kimmins, from her social work in the Bermondsey slums in the 1890s, the founding of her unique craft school for disabled boys in Chailey, Sussex in 1903, through two World Wars, to the takeover of Chailey Heritage by the NHS in 1948.

£12.20

 

Posted in Bermondsey, Bermondsey Settlement, book reviews, books by Ros Black, Chailey Heritage, Chailey Heritage Foundation, Grace Kimmins, talks and book signings | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

GRACE KIMMINS – ‘A SMALL WOMAN WITH A BIG HEART’

Grace Kimmins has been called many things:
'a genius', 'the greatest beggar in England', 'a small woman with
a big heart','a pied piper', one of the greatest English women of 
the twentieth century', 'a goddess with a chuckle', 'a spiritual 
successor to Florence Nightingale'.

Her enduring achievement was the founding of a craft school for 
disabled children from the Bermondsey slums at Chailey.
Today, Chailey Heritage still stands proud in the Sussex 
countryside.
But Grace had already achieved much in her life before she 
brought the first 7 boys down from London in 1903. 
She had worked as a Sister of the People out of the West London 
Mission, setting up both the Guild of Play and the Guild of the 
Brave Poor Things. 
She then moved to the Bermondsey Settlement where she expanded 
that work. She married Charles Kimmins, an educational 
psychologist.
But her dream was to have a residential school in the countryside 
for the disabled.

Grace Kimmins and her Chailey Heritage tells the story of how she 
made that dream a reality. 

To purchase a copy of the book, please click on the paypal button 
below. 
Don't worry if you don't have a paypal account, you will be offered
the option to pay by debit or credit card.
Please note the actual cost of the book is £10. P & P is £2.20. 
All proceeds from the sale of this new book are being donated to
Chailey Heritage Foundation which continues today to do amazing 
work for children and young adults with complex needs.

Any books ordered prior to the launch date of 12th October 2018
will be despatched on 13th October

 

New book

Read the fascinating story of Grace Kimmins, from her social work in the Bermondsey slums in the 1890s, the founding of her unique craft school for disabled boys in Chailey, Sussex in 1903, through two World Wars, to the takeover of Chailey Heritage by the NHS in 1948.

£12.20


							
Posted in Bermondsey, Bermondsey Settlement, books by Ros Black, Chailey Heritage, Chailey Heritage Foundation, Grace Kimmins, Guild of Play, Guild of the Brave Poor Things, Sisters of the People, Victorian Do-Gooders, West London Mission, West London Mission, Sister of the People, Bermondsey Settlement, Chailey Heritage Foundation, women's history | Leave a comment

GRACE KIMMINS AND HER CHAILEY HERITAGE

To book your free tickets for the launch of my new book at Chailey Heritage GK publicity photo

Thursday 12th October at 6pm go to chf.org.uk/tickets

 

Posted in books by Ros Black, Chailey Heritage, Grace Kimmins | Leave a comment

Grace Kimmins and her Chailey Heritage

Chailey Heritage CVR 3

New book out on 12th October 2018

Exciting news – my new book is being launched at Chailey Heritage on 12th October.

To book your free ticket go to http://www.chf.org.uk/tickets

You will shortly be able to pre-order the book prior to its launch – watch this space

 

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CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Every day I seem to discover a new heroine – a woman who was prepared to break the mould of subservient womanhood.

As my particular interest lies in the mid/late Victorian period, most of my heroines  were those who didn’t let their lack of political power prevent them from working to improve the lives of others. Of course, there were the ‘Lady Bountifuls’ but there were so many genuine humanitarians whose work we have forgotten.

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To celebrate International Women’s Day, if you order Scandal Salvation and Suffrage – The Amazing women of The Temperance Movement before 31st March 2016 you will also receive a copy of Duxhurst – Surrey’s Lost Village, which tells the story of Lady Henry Somerset’s Farm Colony for Inebriate Women, FREE.

Duxhurst - Surrey's Lost Village

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