LAWNSIDE GROVE 1921-1994

The headmistress of Lawnside School (on the opposite side of Albert Road), Gertrude Harman bought the house in 1921 (cost unknown) – the school magazine for 1922 celebrates the acquisition of Lawnside Grove and refers to June 22 as its house-warming. There are pictures of the house in the 1923 issue, and the Grove name appears to be the choice of the school.

The raised stage was added in Spring 1922 – the plans submitted are now in the Worcester Record Office at The Hive – building work was done by Thomas Broad Ltd and A Troyte Griffith was the architect. Weir’s ‘billiard room’ is described as a ‘Dance Hall’ and the Library is the room adjoining the new stage. This resulted in the oddity of two adjacent grand internal archways into the hall. The stone archway leading off from the stage looks like it could have been the original north entrance, given the style of carving matches that on the west porch.

The school and all its property changed hands in 1925 when Adelaine Winifred Murdock Barrows became headmistress, her father buying it for her.

From 1929-39 Lawnside played host to the Malvern Festival which meant artistes such as George Bernard Shaw visited – he had his portrait painted by Dame Laura Knight at The Grove in 1932 (now in Hereford City Museum). Edward Elgar also visited the school, and probably The Grove because musical performances took place in the Hall.In 1960 when Ms Barrows retired, the school became a registered entity and all its property was transferred to Lawnside School Association Limited.

In 1974 the hall was changed into a library (photo in school magazine), and named after Ms Barrows.

The grounds were reduced in 1992 when the walled garden to the southwest was sold as part of The Gables and the section containing Grove Cottage was sold to the headmistress Janet Angela Harvey, and then further reduced in 1995 when she acquired the land between the cottage and Albert Road South.

The school made various alterations during its time, including sub-dividing rooms, removing a servants’ staircase from the basement to the hall, and removing the bottom of the servants’ staircase from hall to first floor, the landing of which became a bathroom. A ‘dumb waiter’ was installed between the basement and the ground floor.

One suspects that the fabric was in less than perfect repair in 1994 as the school closure was due to financial reasons.