Housemaid’s tale to rekindle memories

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Seven decades ago, Brodsworth Hall, near Doncaster, was a working country estate, and yesterday the daughter of a housemaid of the time came face to face with mother – who is being portrayed by an actress.

Mollie Hindle was the daughter of the estate foreman, and in 1942 she married a soldier, Walter Nicholls, who she met after he was billeted at Brodsworth as part of the Second World War effort.

Yesterday the couple’s daughter Janet Trott, returned to the place where her parents met as part of a new project to gather wartime memories, and said seeing the actress playing her mother was emotional.

Mrs Trott, whose mother and father moved to Kent after their marriage, said she spent many school holidays at Brodsworth with her grandparents, who continued to work there after the war.

She added that she was pleased to be helping the “reminiscence project” which has been funded with a grant of £99,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Mrs Trott, who moved back to Doncaster in the 1970s after living with her mother and father in Kent for many years, said: “I think it is excellent that this project will allow people with memories of Brodsworth during the war to share them as part of this fascinating exhibition.

“Meeting the actress who will play my mother as part of the reminiscence sessions was very moving, and I’m sure she will do a great job of telling my mother’s tale and encouraging others to share their stories too.”

It is hoped that memories collected from the public will be included in the project called Duty Calls: The Country House in Time of War, which will open on March 29 next year.

Caroline Carr-Whitworth, Brodsworth Hall’s curator, said: “Brodsworth Hall was significantly altered by both world wars, but particularly the Second World War when the hall and its estate were used by the military as billets.

“This had an enormous impact on all its occupants.”