An 18th Century Manor House, previously used during the Second World War by the Government Code and Cypher School based at Bletchley Park (the Codebreakers), and German Prisoners of War.
From 1946 to 1948 The Holt (Moore Place Hotel) was used by the Bedfordshire War Agricultural Committee to house up to 40 land girls on worked on local farms.
The Land Girls played an integral part in agriculture not only during the war but also after. It seemed that they didn’t only work hard, but they liked to “party hard” too as the saying goes!
Boyfriends were only allowed inside the hostel for invited parties. Normally they had to wait outside for their girlfriends. A large cedar tree by the drive-in front of the house enabled the land girls to take turns to kiss their boyfriend's goodnight before the 10pm deadline for being in the hostel. They went on Thursday evenings and at the weekend, to Bedford for dances. Joan Ison nee Taylor remembered attending a fancy dress dance as "The Ghost of Aspley Guise". Land girls were not officially allowed to give lifts to men in their War Ag trucks, but they got round it by giving their boyfriends headscarves to wear, when being given lifts to a dance, so that they looked like girls in the back of the truck. The Anchor pub, across the square from the hostel in Aspley Guise was very convenient for the land girls. There were also socials and dances in the Parish Hall. Local girls accused the land girls of "stealing" the local boys.
We have been very lucky to find some pictures and names to accompany them of some the Land Girls during their time here at “The Holt”. And we were very excited to establish that the fireplace in our lounge area still has the same surround as the one in the picture of the “recreation room”.
1. What is The Holt's connection to WWII?
The Holt, now Moore Place Hotel, served during WWII as living quarters for codebreakers from Bletchley Park and later housed German POWs.
2. How did The Holt assist post-war agriculture?
From 1946-1948, The Holt accommodated Land Girls who worked on nearby farms, contributing significantly to post-war agricultural efforts.
3. Did Land Girls socialize at The Holt?
Yes, the Land Girls were known for their lively social life, hosting dances and socials, with tales of sneaking boyfriends onto the property for evening parties.
4. Are there historical artifacts from the Land Girls' era at The Holt?
Indeed, Moore Place Hotel has photographs and the original fireplace from The Holt's time as a recreational hub for Land Girls.