Park magazine wants your lore about Learmount castle

L-R Heather Semple, Betty McAteer, Catriona Doughty, Beryl Anderson (Ford), Jean Blair (Livingston), Pat Taylor (Walsh), Grace McKenna, Caroline Lynch, Jane Dunton, Helen Elliot.

L-R Heather Semple, Betty McAteer, Catriona Doughty, Beryl Anderson (Ford), Jean Blair (Livingston), Pat Taylor (Walsh), Grace McKenna, Caroline Lynch, Jane Dunton, Helen Elliot.

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Preparations have already begun for this year’s edition of Park Past and Present, the annual magazine produced by volunteers from the Learmount Community Centre in Park Village.

The group are looking for people who have experiences of Learmount Castle during the Second World War to share their memories.

Responding to an invitation from Mrs R. Millar vice principal of Hunterhouse College, the editorial committee travelled to Hunterhouse College, Belfast to join in their recent event marking the 150th anniversary celebrations of Princess Garden and the Learmount Castle years of Ashleigh House School.

Pupils and staff of Ashleigh House School were evacuated to Learmount Castle during the Second World War where they remained for approximately five years.

In 1987, Ashleigh House School amalgamated with Princess Garden School, forming Hunterhouse College.

Caroline Lynch from the Learmount Community Centre, said it was important for the committee to make this connection with Hunterhouse College to access their heritage room, where photographs, stories, uniforms and memorabilia in relation to Learmount Castle in the 1940s, were available for viewing.

Caroline said: “Our magazine this year will focus on the various uses of Learmount Castle, and we are especially keen to record the stories of pupils who boarded at Learmount Castle during the war.

“As this was almost 75 years ago we were delighted to meet with three ladies at the celebration, who were pupils at Learmount Castle during the war. “The ladies shared their stories and memories with the magazine committee.

“These stories will now be recorded and form part of our annual 2015 magazine. In response to the kind invitation from Vice Principal Ruth Millar the Learmount Group have invited current pupils from Hunterhouse College along with past pupils of Ashleigh House School to visit Learmount Castle and the surrounding area at the beginning of October 2015.

“To ensure we capture a wide variety of stories we would love to hear from anyone who has information or photographs regarding Learmount Castle.

“Perhaps you stayed there during the war as a pupil of Ashleigh House School, or as a tourist during the time it was a hostel, or maybe as a member of a school, group or club, if so please contact us on 02877781881 or via facebook.com/ learmountcommunitydevelopmentgroup.”

The magazine is part of the PARC (Providing Accessibility in a Remote Community) project which is funded by Big Lottery Fund.