Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic School

Croome 1950s Boys School

In 1948, Croome Court, by then vacant, was sold by the Croome Estate Trustees to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham.

It was fitted out as a boarding school for boys and had about 140 pupils from all over the country.

Children playing when Croome was a school for boys
Boys school at Croome
Children playing when Croome was a school for boys

The school occupied the whole of the court, the Red Wing and the stable block, with classrooms, dormitories and chapel. Pershore Lodge (also known as London Lodge), near the main entrance to Croome Court, was also used to house nuns who taught at the school.

The court’s Long Gallery served as the school’s refectory with food brought up from a kitchen in the basement by means of a ‘dumb-waiter’.  When the nuns weren't looking, some of the boys used the dumb waiter as a lift to the ground floor with contraband biscuits.

School boys using the Long Gallery as a refectory
The Long Gallery at Croome
School boys using the Long Gallery as a refectory

The boys used the field on the north side of the court as their sports ground, storing their outdoor shoes in purpose-built wooden racks in the basement.

In 1962, during the school’s tenure, a section of the M5 motorway was constructed, slicing through the Croome estate.  Four of the boys tried to escape from Croome on bicycles on the M5 and were brought back by the police.

The school continued at Croome until July 1979, when operations were combined with nearby Besford Court, where older boys were taught. In recent years, the former pupils have held reunions and keep in regular touch.

A small exhibition telling the story of the boys school is on display on the first floor.

Ex pupils from Croome at their reunion
Croome Boys shool reunion
Ex pupils from Croome at their reunion

School tour

Visitors now have the opportunity to meet some of the former pupils of St Joseph’s school who hold regular tours throughout the year.  

During the tour, which explores three flours of the property and the adjoining Red Wing, they share their experiences.

Visit our What's On pages for the latest tour dates (new dates are regularly added) and ask at the Court entrance if you wish to be included on the tour when you arrive.