Mrs Becher's Diary


Rogues – September 1933

Do you remember the little streams of babies walking about the village this summer? There were about 48 of them between the ages of 2 and 5 and they came from a nursery school in the heart of Stepney and were spending a fortnight at Rogues. I shall always think of them as the Water Babies. The weather was perfect and they were never seen in anything but little hand-knitted bathing pants of the gayest of colours. One evening when I went up to see them, they were sitting in a little group on the tennis lawn eating their supper of porridge and bread and butter out of brightly coloured bowls – each group having a father or mother who saw to the wants of the others. Supper ended, they were allowed to go and paddle; and there was a rush of little feet over the long grass, under the trees and past the flower beds down to the water, where their small garments were discarded and the round pool became fringed with tiny scraps of humanity each in his or her birthday suit. Those in charge told me sad tales of unhappy homes, dirt squalor and neglect – verily it must have seemed a Paradise to them.