Secrets of Rosemundy mothers and babies home

Phil Frampton talk

Friday 12 April 2024

Phil Frampton
Phil Frampton signing copies of his book

The Museum welcomed Phil Frampton, Activist, Journalist and author of “Golly in the Cupboard” to the Methodist Church Hall for a keenly anticipated talk on 12 April. The Hall was packed with an audience of 80 but the talk almost didn’t take place after the flight from Manchester to Newquay that Phil had been due to catch was cancelled. A coach was arranged instead which got Phil to the talk just in time having travelled 246 miles.

To raise funds, there was a raffle for which the main prize was a generous £50 voucher for Sunny Spice Indian restaurant and three prizes donated by Rosemundy House Hotel. A non-alcoholic bar provided refreshments run by Diana Good Dixon, Sue Amor and Susan Clayton. Shop Manager, Mike Furness, also brought copies of “Golly in the Cupboard” and Clive Benney’s book “The Secrets of Rosemundy House”.

Welcomed by Chairman, Roger Radcliffe, and after an opening film showing some of his campaigns, Phil spoke of his birth at Rosemundy in 1953 where he spent the first 3 months of his life. It was assumed that he could never be adopted as he was of mixed race. His African father was deported by the British Government simply for fathering him. After 6 months in a home at Instow he was brought up in Barnado’s Homes. His family became the other children and he found stability in the homes whereas he felt today’s children are often isolated. He never felt that he had love and the children’s education was neglected. He wanted to go to the local Secondary Modern School where they played football, not rugby, and would not have been separated from the other children, but won a place at Grammar School. He left the home aged 15, at 16 was living alone in a bedsit. He went on to Bristol University which he enjoyed. At this time he knew nothing of Rosemundy Home.

He wanted to make a difference in the world and set up a Gypsy site in Bristol. In 1993 he went into journalism and market research. He wrote travel guides. After 1997 children in care were able to access their records and in 2000 the Care Leavers’ Association was set up which still exists. “Golly in the Cupboard” won a radio award.

Phil continued to campaign and researched a programme on Rosemundy Home. He discovered that heavily pregnant women were marched in a crocodile to church, where they were often abused, that they scrubbed floors and did heavy work in the laundry. Their whole stay was designed to humiliate them. Mothers were locked in their dormitories while their babies were chosen by adoptive parents from their prams on the lawn. Phil felt there should be plaque in St Agnes commemorating the mothers and their babies. One Rosemundy mother, Lyn, spoke of her time at the Home, describing it as “wicked”. One “baby”, Peter, described his loving upbringing in his adoptive home with his Dutch mother and father.

Thanking Phil, Roger Radcliffe said it had been a “pretty emotional evening”. Afterwards, Phil signed copies of his book “Golly in the Cupboard”, pictured right.

Phil and Roger took part in a Radio Cornwall programme broadcast on the following Sunday morning.