Retford Ladies Probus Club
Sixty three members and four visitors were welcomed to the May meeting of Retford Ladies Probus, when Leon Sloman took members on a virtual tour of Mr Straw’s House on Blyth Grove, Worksop. This house has been described as the nearest thing to a time capsule that the National Trust has ever received. Purchased by Walter Straw and his wife Florence in 1923, the house was built in 1905. Walter ran a lucrative grocery and seed business and his wife was the well-educated daughter of the local butcher, but it is their two sons William and Walter that we have to thank for the preservation of the house and it is well worth a visit.
Named Endcliffe Villa by the Straws, Florence was fashion conscious and embraced modern decor. One of the key features was the Egyptian inspired stair carpet which was so expensive it only covered the first flight (Howard Carter had recently discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb). Walter stayed to help with the family business while William, the studious one, went off to London to teach. William Senior died suddenly in 1932 and in their grief the family decided to avoid any further modernisation.
William Senior had been a keen gardener, with a cacti collection considered important enough to have an extra coal allowance to keep them warm! Walter died in 1972, whilst William lived in the house until 1985, dying five years later. Leon told members that volunteers are always welcome, especially with cleaning which takes four months every year and can be painstakingly slow. The group’s next meeting is on Wednesday 14th June at Westhill Community Centre at 10.00am for 10.30am, when Alison Doxey will tell members about winning gold at Chelsea. All are welcome.