In 1970 Westoning Manor started operating as a residential school with 5 pupils and the first member of staff, one of few residential alternatives to long-stay hospital care.
Westoning Manor nurtured the individual interests and abilities of each child, welcoming family involvement. From the start an educational philosophy was central to MacIntyre, offering people opportunities to learn and enjoy a meaningful life. Westoning allowed children to have their individuality protected and respected, in contrast to the institutionalised model of provision hospitals could offer.
“Beautiful. If you were to ask anybody ‘where heaven on earth is’ they will tell you, it was Westoning Manor. […] Everything was focused on the children.”
–Marje Caine, in interview for the Memories project in 2014)
Joanna Booth Remembers...
I joined MacIntyre Westoning in 1980 after having an interview after a holiday in France and never went home I started immediately. Things have changed so much now.
I worked in the manor for most of my time there and had a bedroom at the top of the house living with several other support workers. It was the most beautiful place to work were the people we supported had the Freedom to walk round and visit their friends in other houses.
Every morning and lunch time Austin would ring the bell in the square and very proud he was doing it (but that is another long story about Austin) people would walk to work or school and it was a very happy atmosphere.
Weekends were spent in the grounds around the swimming pool having picnics on the lawn or going out in one of the busses on a trip round Woburn.
Having a lot of farm land every year we used to breed turkeys to sell to the locals on one particular year they were all stolen . This was devastating for everyone as they were going to make us a lot of money and for the people that had ordered their Christmas dinner. A reporter from the main news got to know about this and it was all over the TV. People thought that we wouldn’t have any Christmas dinner! That week streams of people were bringing turkeys of all shapes and sizes. The freezer was full and Christmas was saved. People were so generous.