When a carer at Elm House, the CLS-run care home in Nantwich, Crewe, decided to conduct a local history project with the residents, her research turned up much more than she’d expected. Not only was Elm House the site of a former stately home, a farmhouse, and dentist’s surgery, but its lawn also once hosted a German Messerschmitt fighter aircraft after it was captured during World War Two! Needless to say, before the discovery, nobody at the home realised that Elm House had played a part in the battle for Britain’s skies.
Mandy Robinson, Activity Co-ordinator at Elm House, contacted staff at the local museum, who then put her in touch with a historian, Andrew Lamberton, who specialises in Nantwich houses. Andrew did some research before taking Mandy out to see the original foundation stones and borders of Maisterson Hall; the stately home that stood on the Elm House grounds from the 1400s until it was demolished in 1797.
But that’s not all. Andrew sent several photographs of the old house to Mandy, including one showing a captured a Messerschmitt fighter aircraft from World War Two! Although well-worn with time, the photograph clearly shows Nantwich residents gathering on the home’s lawn to get a look at the Nazi warplane.
Between the demolition of Maisterson Hall and the capture of the Nazi bomber, the site of Elm House turned out to be a very busy place indeed; in its time, it has been a luxury home, a successful green grocer business, a dentist’s surgery, a coach house, and a stables. Part of the land was also donated to the Catholic Church, which used the land to build a brand new place of worship for the area. St Anne’s Church still stands next to the home to this day.
Commenting on her research, Mandy Robinson said: “I know that quite a few of the residents are interested in local history, and I thought Elm House would make the perfect place to start my little project. I had no idea that I would unearth such a long and eventful history. It’s fascinating to know how active this site has been since the 1400s. The fact that it played host to a WW2 German bomber is just astonishing; it certainly got the residents’ attention!”
Steve Maddock, Home Manager at Elm House, also commented: “We have all enjoyed learning about the rich history of the site from Mandy’s display, and it has sparked lots of interesting conversations amongst the residents; many of whom have fond memories of the area from their childhoods.”
He further commented: “The history project is just one example of the range of activities made available to residents at Elm House. By holding a range of workshops, games, projects and trips, we aim to ensure that all residents remain as active, healthy, and happy as possible. Reminiscence-based activities such as the history project are particularly effective at stimulating residents.”