Nostalgia Notebook: Nazareth House - This is your life!

This Is Local London: In June 1986 Eamonn Andrews crossed the Irish Sea at his own expense to open the annual fete and say thank you to the nuns who looked after his mother in law. The original man with the red book' - host of This Is Your Life, What's My Line, sports commenta In June 1986 Eamonn Andrews crossed the Irish Sea at his own expense to open the annual fete and say thank you to the nuns who looked after his mother in law. The original man with the red book' - host of This Is Your Life, What's My Line, sports commenta

The photographs alongside hark back to happier times for Nazareth House.

The riverside old people's home on the riverside at Old Isleworth, has stood emtpy for some years and is the subject of planning applications by owners, the Sisters of Nazareth to erect a village' for the elderly.

However, in June 1986 the grounds rang to the merriment of the annual fete opened by Eamonn Andrews. It was a thank you to the nuns by the popular broadcaster. Isleworth's mother superior, Sister Mary had been among those who had cared for his wife Grainne's mother in Dublin.

The high brick wall of London stocks which surrounds the seven and more riverside acres of Nazareth House is a local landmark, curving sturdily along the Richmond Road as far as the junction with South Street, alongside Lion Wharf Road.

What is known as the White House started life as Isleworth House, one of the district's significant estates, along with Sion Hill, Wyke House, Redlees and Silver Hall and was known to have been visited by William IV.

In 1832 it was rebuilt on a sumptuous scale by Edward Blore for George III's chaplain, Sir William Cooper whose wife was a donor to local charities. He designed a white stuccoed mansion with an Italian campanile and bow windows.

The Poor Sisters of Nazareth, founded in the mid 19th century in Hammersmith to take care of the old and the young, renamed the property when they established their convent and home on the Richmond Road in 1892. Their arrival strengthened established links with Catholicism in Isleworth spanning more than two centuries.

The familiar Red House facing the gates on Richmond Road, was built for Nazareth House Industrial School for Roman Catholic Girls which was certified on April 24, 1899 for 120 girls'. The red brick chapel, which is also visible from the road, was added in 1902.

A photograph by Henry Taunt, taken between 1860 and 1922 and held by English Heritage shows a view from the Surrey bank where a young lady is waiting for the Rails Head ferry boat.

The industrial school closed in 1922 and the building was adapted for use as a home for children in need. This continued until 1985 when it was again adapted, this time as a residential home for older people. In 2002, due to the decline in vocations to the religious life, the convent and home were closed.

See Nostalgia Notebook each Friday in the Richmond and Twickenham Times and the Brentford, Chiswick and Isleworth Times.

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