Clarence Stentiford's career as a head gardener was typical of the
1920s and 30s in England. He moved around the country caring for some of
the finest gardens of his time and without doubt, the moves he made were
not because of his innate restlessness but because he was head-hunted.
His titled, upper-class employers would regularly have house
parties to which their titled, upper-class friends would come, look around
the grounds and, before they left, secretly make the head gardener an
offer he couldn't refuse.
As 1939 dawned, all this was about to come to an abrupt end
- Kevin Stentiford's story continues:
In 1939, Clarence and his family made their last move to a
property in Highcliffe known as Beacon Lodge which had
associations with the Cadbury family. They stayed there throughout the
war until 1947.
Like so many properties of its kind, Beacon Lodge was requisitioned
by the military and used as barracks. Clarence served as a volunteer
fireman in the National Fire Service throughout the war and the family
remained on the Beacon Lodge site. These were the days of the "Dig for
Victory" campaign and Clarence took charge of a large market garden
on the property, using his skills to provide fresh food as well as
continuing to take charge of the upkeep of the grounds.
Issued by the Ministry of Food in October 1939
Beacon Lodge (now housing a dental practice and
minus its grounds) was sold in 1947, having been left by the military in a
derelict state. Clarence, Hilda and Brian moved away to the village of
Clandon in Surrey to a nice country estate called Clandon Regis, owned
at that time by a prominent restaurateur. Today, its surrounding
parkland has become one of the UK's finest golf clubs, the setting
for major PGA tournaments.
of the Golf Club
The family were to stay only a short time in this idyllic setting.
The world they had known before the war had
disappeared never to return, leaving a restless feeling shared by a
large number of people together with an
unwillingness to return to their former lives, content to serve
others. The generation which had survived the Second World War wanted a better
life for themselves and for their children. They had fought alongside men and women who came
from parts of the world where society was run very differently and where
opportunities and rewards were far more evenly distributed and they
wanted to be part of this different life style.
Like thousands of others, Clarence, Hilda and Brian began to make
plans to emigrate. The country they were to choose was New Zealand.
Hilda Stentiford in the 1960s
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