The Mote (Mote House) 1932-1941

Mote House, Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent

Some details extracted from an item written by Leslie Burt for the 1935 edition of the Caldecott Chronicle. (The Chronicle can be found at “Indoor Activities at Caldecott Community”)

A Mr Marcus Samuel (1853-1927) purchased The Mote in 1895,

He died in 1927 and was succeeded by his son, who sold the property to Maidstone Corporation in 1929. Caldecott Community rented the property from September 1932.

Futher details of Marcus Samuel found here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Samuel,_1st_Viscount_Bearsted

The following anecdotal record is to be found linked to a photo of Mote House by Penny Mayes. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/91738

Mote House Maidstone

Falling into disrepair since it ceased to be a Cheshire Home some years ago, the house has been sold to a developer but nothing much seems to have happened in the last 12 months. The gridline cuts through the house so the northern (left-hand) side and left-most windows are in TQ7855.
The house has seen much grander days. Built for Lord Romney, Lord Lieutenant of Kent, in the late 18th century by architect D.A. Alexander (who also designed Maidstone and Dartmoor prisons). In 1799 Lord Romney held a Royal Review of the Kent Volunteers in his grounds. On a hot summer day 5,319 men, including 4,305 infantrymen, went on parade to be inspected by George III and Queen Charlotte (accompanied by the two Princesses) who were greeted by the Prime Minister William Pitt and other Ministers. A Royal Tent and a Ministerial Tent were erected where the Pavilion now stands. Six thousand sat down to eat, and more than 20,000 turned out to watch the spectacle. The cooks prepared 60 lambs, 700 fowl, 300 hams, 300 tongues, 220 dishes of boiled beef, plus roast beef, meat pies and fruit pies. In case anyone went hungry there was 220 joints of roast veal. To wash it all down? Seven pipes of wine and 16 butts of beer.

© Copyright Penny Mayes and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

There is a significant amount of history of Mote House (known previously as The Mote) and Mote Park, to be found on the Internet. Far to much to be recorded here.

One such site - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mote_Park mentions that:-

"Walter Samuel (the 2nd Viscount Bearsted) sold most of the estate to Maidstone Borough Council (then the Maidstone Corporation) in 1929... converted the house to an orphanage"

The first occupants from 1931 was The Caldecott Community, an organisation formed in 1911 and caring for children, relocating from it's previous home nearby at Charlton Court, East Sutton. (up-sizing in todays jargon).The Mote was home to the community until 1941 when the activities of the second World War forced the Community to relocate again (this time to Hyde House in Dorset).

Mote House and it's kitchen garden was then commandeered by the British Armed Forces  as a headquarters and training facility for the remainder of the war. It was subsequently used as offices for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries before becoming part of the Cheshire Homes organisation, caring for the disabled. Cheshire Homes moved out in 1996 and after lying empty for a number of years it has now been redeveloped by the Audley organisation (along with its outbuildings) as retirement apartments and cottages.

SA/CA/JHN

Some reflections upon life within The Caldecott Community, when it was situated at The Mote, near Maidstone in Kent, during the late nineteen thirties. - John Hansen 2013

I believe I was one of the few people who was part of The Community, from this period in its history until we were finally established at Mersham le Hatch. Although due to the fact that I had obtained a job in 1947, I took lodgings in Canterbury during the week and only returned at the weekend to help Agatha Travers and Julian Rhee with the older boys.