A while ago I wrote a post about Leonard Eric Mason, one of the half brothers of my great Grandfather, Herbert. I had found (on Ancestry.co.uk) the details of Leonard’s departure for Canada in 1923. He had been a resident at the Chase Farm Schools in Enfield and was sent to Canada for “betterment”. Since then I have found out more about Leonard Eric and his time in the RCAF during World War 2.
Leonard’s father, my great great grandfather John Thomas Mason had died in September 1911. On September 11th 1912 Leonard and his brothers , Alfred (b.1903) and Lawrence, (b.1907) were placed in the Greenwich Workhouse by their mother Dorothy.
Two days after being admitted to the workhouse, Lawrence and Leonard were “discharged to Calvert Road”. This refers to a group of cottage homes adjacent to the workhouse, which could accommodate up to 50 children. Alfred is listed as discharged but no location is given, perhaps he went home to his mother. The Mason boys seem to have been in and out of the workhouse for short periods: Alfred and Lawrence were admitted again on 7th November 1912 and young Arthur Hayter Mason who was almost 2 years old was admitted the following day.
According to Leonard’s Canadian War Service file, he moved to the Chase Farm Schools in 1914 and stayed there until he left for Canada. The photograph below is of Leonard and Arthur Mason during their time at the Chase Farm Schools in Enfield. At the moment I haven’t located any records relating to their residence at Chase Farm; it doesn’t appear to be online yet and so I need to visit the archives to see what I can find.
Chase Farm Schools had their origin in the old parish workhouse at Chase Side, Enfield. Eventually, in 1884-6 a new set of buildings was erected on the Chase Farm site and these buildings continued as a school until the start of the Second world War when it was used to provide care for wartime casualties, and then after the war it became a general hospital.
For more information on Greenwich Workhouse and Chase Farm Schools see Peter Higginbothams’s website:www.workhouses.org.uk. There is plenty of fascinating information on this site including photographs, maps and plans of the workhouses.
Thanks to John Mason for the photograph of Leonard and Arthur.