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« Don’t pursue happiness, reach out and take it | Main | Thinking makes it so »
Monday
Sep282009

Stargroves

During WWII after the bombing in 1940, my mother, sister and I, left the East End of London and moved to the rural countryside in Hampshire, England.

Strangely the tiny village we moved to was called East End, part of the larger village of East Woodhay.

I began school there in 1941; we lived there until 1946 a year after the war ended.

A short distance from the school were the gates to a large Victorian mansion called Stargroves, (Picture above.) at that time it was the home of Sir Frederick Cardin.

The title “Sir” meant that he had received a Knighthood from the King of England. It was my understanding that Sir Frederick was formally a high ranking army man, and probably received the Knighthood for services to his country.

We normally couldn’t see Stargroves as it stood on its own large grounds and was hidden from view. However, every Christmas, Sir Frederick would invite all the local children over for a Christmas Party.

We would assemble on the road outside the school, line up two by two, and then march through the big iron gates and about half a mile up the winding private driveway to Stargroves. (See the satellite picture below.)

We walked in though one of the large front doors, which opened into a huge central hall. If you look at the picture below, at the front door on the left, you will notice there are two large windows either side that span two floors.

That is because the central hall had no first floor ceiling and went all the way to the roof of this enormous building. There was a wide winding staircase at one end of the hall, leading up to a balcony that gave access to the upstairs rooms on the other half of the building.

At the end of the hall next to the staircase was a decorated Christmas Tree that had to be at least 25 foot tall. We all sat cross-legged on the polished hardwood floor, facing the tree, and various small groups got up to sing carols, and individuals recited poems that we had been rehearsing in the preceding weeks.

Then there would be a merry “Ho, ho, ho,” and looking up to the balcony, we would see Santa Claus, or Father Christmas as we knew him, as he made his way along and down the staircase with his sack full of presents. A whisper went around between the waiting children; “That’s old Freddy Cardin.”

Above: The tiny school I attended. I took this picture during a visit in the 1980s; the school was still in use then, not sure if it is now. 

Happy childhood memories during those hard wartime years. Stargroves has had an interesting history since those times; in the 1970s it was the home of Mick Jagger. He had a mobile recording studio and the Rolling Stones recorded Exile on Main Street, Sticky Fingers, and It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, there.

I did read somewhere that the drums were set up in the large hall I spoke of, to take advantage of the natural reverb.

The Who recorded a number of songs there, including Won’t Get Fooled Again and Pure and Easy. In 1972 Led Zeppelin recorded parts of the albums, Houses of the Holy, and Physical Graffiti. Other artists who have recorder there are Deep Purple, Status Quo, Bob Marley, Santana, and Iron Maidon.

I wonder how Sir Frederick would have felt about all that. Stargroves is now owned by Rod Stewart, who bought the property in 1998. If he ever comes across this, there is an old ex-framebuilder who would love to take a peek inside that large central hall again. Just nostalgia

 

Reader Comments (10)

Headley Grange is the place where Led Zeppelin recorded the drums in the entrance hall for natural reverb. The song was, "When the Levee Breaks."

Here's a film trailer where Jimmy Page reminisces a little about it. Headley Grange briefly appears at about the 1:00 minute mark.

The technique may have inspired others to go to Stargroves for later recordings.

September 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterridethewomble

Great story Dave! It's funny how things unfold ain't it?

September 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermander

Another completely cool post. This stuff is why yours is the best blog, bar none. By the way, best of luck in your search to find figure out what you wan to do when you grow up (post of 14 September). I can identify with your quandary. Thanks!

September 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTim

I just wanted to say cool blog. I really enjoy reading your posts.
Nice story Dave. Its very interesting and funny.

October 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterexternal hard drives

School is now a house and school is behind the house! Rod Stewart never lived there as he had to sell it as part of his divorce settlement!

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermichael

Just come across your blog featuring Stargroves, going back in history the house was owned by my wife`s great uncle Richard Hull and her great grandfather lived in the adjoining Chucrh Farm next to East Woodhay Church where we were married. We were lucky enough to be able to view the house when Jagger was selling it and subsequently when the village fete was held there. My wife cannot remember ever seeing Mick J around but clearly remembers his brother Chris around the village.

May 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Pooles

Geez just stumbled across your blog about stargroves i went to the school across the road the head teacher miss jones used to live in the house as they had built the new school behind it. Used to live at berries farm at east woodhay my mate jimmy whites dad used to be the caretaker at stargroves and we used to sneek up to the house and watch and listen to the bands also met tom baker when the filmed dr who there when they had finished filming the mummies from mars the gave the piramid to the school for the kids to play in . By that time i had allready moved up to burgclere school

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjay

Dave, those are some magnificent pics of Stargroves House. Very interesting historical details. Thank you for your posting.

Alan Pooles, your wife must be a cousin of mine. I, too, am descended from Richard Hull senior, who purchased Stargroves Manor about 1848. He farmed in Stargroves Farm in the late 1840s, and the 1850s and 1860s. If you would like to share and discuss Hull family history, please contact me:

peterferreira@rogers.com


Peter Ferreira

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Ferreira

I stumbled upon this blog when googling Stargroves as I also went to school across from it in about 1967. At that time, when the may queen was crowned she was carried on a throne into Stargroves grounds where Chris Jagger held a mayday party for us school kids. We never went into the house unfortunately but there would always be rumours amongst the kids that the jelly or cake would be 'spiked!' !!
I also met Chris later when his band played a gig for the locals (we were so excieted!) in East Woodhay village hall. I met him in the ladies where his son had taken down all the hanging up coats and made a nest of them and fallen asleep on it...

September 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

For further information on Stargroves and the Carden of Molesey family who lived there for four generations (including myself!) please visit the Carden of Molesey website.

How did Mick Jagger come to buy Stargroves? Due to his friendship with my first cousin John Michell who spent his childhood there.

October 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Carden
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