Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bridges Youth Hostel and Lady Mahlah Addyes Scott

Just around the corner from The Bridges pub stands the youth hostel. According to a leaflet I collected there it was built as a school for the children of her employees by Lady Mahlah Addyes Scott, Lady of the Manor of Wentnor and Ratlinghope, in 1866.

The leaflet suggests that she wanted to encourage her workers to stay with her rather than "join the drift to the factories of Industrial England".

It goes on to say that there turned out not to be enough children in the area to support a school. This is hardly surprising. Bridges is barely a hamlet and Ratlinghope is barely a village. After being left largely unused for some years, it became on of the country' first youth hostels in 1931.

You can read more about the remarkable Mahlah Addyes Scott on the Cradley Links website. She built another remarkably ornate school in the nearby village of Norbury - it is pictured on the Cradley website - which is still open today as Norbury Primary School. It must be the primary that any children who live in the empty country between the Long Mynd and the Stiperstones now attend.

Lady Scott died at the Royal Bath Hotel in Bournemouth, which will be familiar to Liberal Democrat Conference representatives, in 1907 after a carriage accident in the street outside. She is buried at Ratlinghope Church, which will be familiar to readers of this blog.