The Brocket Babies
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1. A story from Geoff Levene (Suffolk) - received 15th July 2017
Here's my little story. My family lived in the West End in Cleveland Street, just yards from the Middlesex Hospital. But for some reason my mother Minnie was due to give birth in the City of London Maternity. I was born at Brocket Hall on 18th December 1945. I was circumcised eight days later--Boxing Day. My father and uncle travelled up on the train for the ceremony. In those days they actually managed to run a service over Christmas -- even a white one. They managed to get to the Hall but they couldn't find the way in, so they decided to climb the wall. My father managed to get over but Uncle Myer had great difficulty. My Dad remembered him hanging by his fingertips with just his eyes and nose visible -- like Chad -- a cartoon character of that time. They then had to wade through thick snow up to the house. Twenty nine years later my eldest son was born at the relocated City of London Maternity in Finsbury Park.
My name at birth was: Sonia Condor Cranstone, born at Brocket Hall on 8th March 1948 My married name is Sonia Condor Grimes. I have a few stories about Brocket Hall.
My sister Lynne (also a Brocket baby born in 1949) and I have known since young that we had the privilege of being born at Brocket Hall. Our mother would often talk about it, and we were taken back on several occasions to see the place where we were came into the world. I remember that we could not get close to the house at that time and we viewed it with our father from a distance, peering through vegetation from a public road. There were daffodils in bloom in the grounds. I remember feeling a sense of attachment to the place, and was not a little disconcerted that we were not able to go up close which with a child's logic I thought should be our right!
Our parents lived in Bush Hill Park, Enfield, and our mother, Flora Cranstone is still alive and living at the same address aged 100. Sadly, she has now lost her memories of Brocket Hall, but always spoke fondly of her time spent there. The one story I remember her relating was that when nursing staff needed to take urine samples from the mothers, and found they were not forthcoming, the nurse would say, "I can see I'm going to have to do my little trick!", and went to the handbasin and set the water running, which mum assured us had the desired result. As recently as in the 1990's we three returned to Brocket Hall and had photos taken outside the wrought iron gates. Mum was always happy to reconnect with those happy times. I now live in Llanelli, South Wales, but often return to Enfield to visit my mother and sister Lynne who is her carer.
I am happy for any of this email to be used if appropriate for your news. Thank you for the work you do in maintaining this website. I can see the list is nearing the total of 1000. Maybe you'll get there soon! Best Wishes Sonia Grimes. (Ed. we did, just a few weeks later).
2. A story from Philip Cullen - received 20th September 2017
My sister and I were talking about Brocket Hall, where I was born, and we have been amazed at how much information and stories there are about the Brocket Babies on your website. We had no idea that such a concept existed and wondered if my name was ever recorded. Our mother was called Joyce Sheila Rosemary Cullen and she was 21 at the time and lived in Harrow Middlesex with her husband Dennis. We have only been back to Brocket Hall once but could not gain entry as it was a private residence but did read that another Brocket Baby wrote to Lord Brocket personally and he invited them around. How amazing was that. I do remember my mother telling me that the nurses wanted her to hold on as they wanted a Christmas baby. I think I therefore disappointed them by being born in the late evening of 24th December.