History of Foxlease

Princess Mary House at FoxleaseOn 28 February 1922, Mrs Archbold Sanderson gave Foxlease House and approximately 65 acres of land to Girlguiding.

Foxlease was transformed into a training centre because of the generosity of Princess Mary, who donated £6,000 for refurbishments.

Interesting facts about Foxlease

It was opened on 2 June 1922 and the first event was a training course for 24 Leaders from all over the British Empire.

Princess Mary made her first visit to Foxlease on 23 July 1923 for the official opening. She later donated a further £4,000 to Foxlease; the proceeds of an exhibition of her wedding presents.

The first World Camp was held at Foxlease on 16-23 July 1924 and the first Imperial Conference was held there on 14-21 July 1926.

The swimming pool was opened on the 25 June 1927 by Olave Baden-Powell.

1938 saw the conversion of the old farm buildings into an indoor camp area.

In 1937, 1,137 Leaders stayed at Foxlease for trainings and conferences, 714 Guides camped in the grounds and in August alone over 1,200 visitors to the house signed the visitors' book.

In 1939 Foxlease House was used to house evacuated children, and by 1941 it was being used as a holiday location for Guides who came from bomb-damaged areas.

1942 saw the end of the trust left by Mrs Archibold Sanderson and Foxlease became the absolute property of the Association. Unfortunately, two of the trustees died during the year so Mrs Archbold Sanderson gave Foxlease as an outright gift instead.

In July 1949, the first training was held in which Leaders could bring children under the age of five with them.

On the 21 February 1950, Women's Hour broadcast a series 'Stately Homes of England', in which Foxlease was featured.

In January 1958, the barn was destroyed by fire and by the end of the year it was rebuilt thanks to generous donations.

In May 1962, a reunion was held to celebrate 40 years of Foxlease being part of Girlguiding. Both the Princess Royal and Lady Baden-Powell attended.

In 1971, the converted farm buildings were renovated to be used as a pack holiday house with disabled access.

On 28-29 June 1972, the House and grounds were opened to the public.

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