Keswick Hotel during the Second World War
The Keswick Hotel was the wartime home of the Independent Boarding School for Girls, Roedean. The school had temporarily relocated from Brighton, East Sussex in May 1940 when its clifftop location on the south coast was believed to be at risk from German bombers on the southern side of the English Channel. About 50 or so girls were evacuated to Canada, while the rest of the school and the staff were evacuated to Keswick, Cumberland (now Cumbria) in the northern Lake District. The evacuated girls were mainly aged 11 - 16.
The Keswick Hotel, owned by the Wivell family, was used as the main building, housing the Senior Girls and the staff. Other, more Junior Girls, were boarded at Millfield Hotel, Shu-le-Crow Guest House and some prefabricated huts. As well as using rooms in the Keswick Hotel for teaching, some of the other premises that were used as classrooms included the hotel garage, the Methodist Church Rooms and parts of the adjacent Keswick railway station including the waiting room. In fact the waiting room continued to be used by railway passengers even while lessons were being taught. There were some strange things that took place during WW2!