Welcome to the Memorial Peace Garden at Hornsey Rise, Wellsborough, where an imposing World War One Memorial has fittingly been given pride of place in the centre of this specially designed space. The Memorial is dedicated to the 380 members of the Natsopa printers’ union who were killed in the conflict between 1914-18 and has been painstakingly restored to its former glory after years of neglect. It was originally part of a commemoration garden at the former Natsopa Memorial Care Home, which once stood on this site, and officially opened to residents on March 29th, 1921. Sadly, when the site was closed down in 2012, the garden and Memorial was left all but forgotten, becoming overgrown and dilapidated. Happily, both have now been brought back to their best, enabling you to visit and pay your respects today.
The 1921 garden was a peaceful, focal point in the 14 acre grounds of the Natsopa Memorial Care Home which was located here in Bosworth Road, Wellsborough, Leicestershire. The convalescent home was built as a place of rest and recuperation for retired and injured Natsopa members and their wives. It boasted 55 private bedrooms, self-contained cottages plus communal areas and gardens, all of which were set in an idyllic location with panoramic countryside views in all directions.
The facilities were fit for heroes. There were two billiards rooms, a music and games room, a reading and writing room, two sun rooms, a large recreational and social hall and a large dining room that could accommodate 120 people. There was also a modern hospital ward that was staffed by a full-time Matron and nurse.
The Natsopa home closed in 1974 and was soon taken over by the Pilgrims Friend Society, a UK charity which cares for elderly Christians. They operated at the site until 2012 when the care home closed for the last time. The derelict building quickly fell into disrepair, was ravaged by arsonists and vandals, and the once magnificent gardens and grounds became overlooked and overgrown. The Memorial was desecrated, vandalised and the brass plaque honouring the Natsopa members was stolen.
When Adrian Burr, chairman of award-winning property developers Springbourne Homes, acquired the Wellsborough site in 2012 he discovered the granite structure smothered by brambles and weeds and in a dreadfully neglected state. It was so neglected that it wasn’t even apparent that it was a War Memorial. In such circumstances it would have been easy for the Springbourne boss to have cleared the stones away with the rest of the rubble as the Care Home was demolished to make way for 19 new homes. However, Burr was intrigued to know more and commissioned award-winning journalist Robert Beasley and leading, local historian Nigel Palmer to research the site. Their investigation duly revealed the history and significance of the mystery structure.
The Springbourne chairman immediately pledged to fully restore the Memorial and give it pride of place in a new Peace Garden which would be constructed on the site of his luxury Hornsey Rise development. He also launched a nationwide search to discover the names of the 380 members who’d been killed in action, a search that attracted widespsread TV, radio and media coverage and ultimately proved successful. Burr was delighted he would now be able to honour each man individually and guarantee that future generations “Will Remember Them”. All 380 names are included on this webpage which is dedicated to their memory.
The 2021 Memorial Peace Garden is freely open to the public and has custom-built, wrought iron gates which open to reveal the restored memorial, complete with a new plaque inscribed with the inscription “Lest We Forget”. A separate path cuts through an avenue of trees and rose bushes to lead people to the memorial square where there are wrought iron benches for quiet contemplation and reflection.
Springbourne Homes chairman Adrian Burr and chief executive Lee Harris marking the first Remembrance Day at the new Memorial Peace Garden at Hornsey Rise on Nov 11 2020.
The thoughtful, carefully designed space makes the Memorial Peace Garden a tranquil setting in an idyllic location and, most importantly, a fitting tribute to the ultimate sacrifice made by those 380 men of yesteryear.
Springbourne Homes would like to thank Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary of the Unite union, Ann Field, at London’s Marx Museum, historian Nigel Palmer and journalist Robert Beasley for their invaluable help and support for this project.