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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:

 

Kevin 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.

 

Dig for Victory Poster

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.

 

Clandon Regis

Clandon Regis

Courtesy 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.

 

Clarence and Hilda Stentiford in the 1960s

Clarence and Hilda Stentiford in the 1960s

(Kevin Stentiford's grandparents)

 

ŠKevin Stentiford

 

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Last modiied: 25/02/2007