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Digital copy of the Witness Statement of Margaret Davies to the Inquiry providing an account of her experiences relating to her employment as Matron at Haut de la Garenne between 1961 and 1972. [Some details redacted].
June 11th 2015 - June 11th 2015
|Scope and Content|
Provides details of early life, noting attendence at a Grammar School prior to employment at a local mill, and subsequent promotion at the age of 18 at the beginning of the Second World War. Recalls joining the WAAF [Women's Auxiliary Air Force], and marrying Colin Tilbrook. Refers to completion of a Home Office course on childcare, along with Colin Tilbrook, following which both were qualified as Residential Social Workers. Recalls experiences in different care homes in the United Kingdom, during training and following qualification. Recalls attending an interview by the Education Committee for the posts of Superintendent and Matron at Haut de la Garenne, along with Colin Tilbrook, in 1961. Provides details of employment at Haut de la Garenne as Matron, noting responsibilities and attempts to make the atmosphere at Haut de la Garenne more homely. Recalls previous members of Haut de la Garenne staff such as Mr [George] Maggs and Mr [George] Mallinson, and the use of corporal punishment. Describes changes made to Haut de la Garenne to accommodate greater numbers and ranges of children. Refers to the method of seperating children into three age groups, each to be cared for by a set of married houseparents. Provides details of changes in child care in Jersey during tenure as Matron at Haut de la Garenne, such as the Education Committee's amalgamation of other children's homes on Jersey into Haut de la Garenne, and Colin Tilbrook and Margaret Davies' rejection of corporal punishment at Haut de la Garenne. Refers to discipline at Haut de la Garenne, noting the use of the detention rooms. Recalls children at Haut de la Garenne, mentioning fostering, child labour, parental illness, and holidays. Describes atmosphere at Haut de la Garenen between staff and residents, noting social occassions such as Christmas. Recalls the deaths of two Haut de la Garenne residents. Disputes the use of refusing home leave as a punishment. Recalls responsibility for staff recruitment [at Haut de la Garenne], prior to recruitment directly by Children's Services. Provides details of staff, and notes lack of training or formal qualifications for some staff. Refers to a document highlighting a high turnover of staff at Haut de la Garenne. Comments on allegations made regarding abuse by houseparent [Ray] Williams, and notes the conviction of houseparent [Thomas] Hamon for sexual abuse [of children]. Comments on the dismissal of a female member of staff for smacking a child, and refutes allegations made against Margaret Davies herself. Refers to instance of attempted sexual abuse by houseparent [Gordon] Wateridge, who was later convicted of [sexual] abuse [of children]. Refers to breakdown of relationship with Colin Tilbrook due to Colin Tilbrook's infidelity. Notes allegations of sexual abuse made against Colin Tilbrook. Recalls adults visiting the children at Haut de la Garenne, and occasions where children would leave the premises with the adults. Recalls one couple who fostered a child, and Margaret Davies' support of fostering placements in general. Recalls interactions with Children's Services, naming [Children's Officer] Patricia Thornton and [Assistant Children's Officer] Charles Smith. Refers to the positions of Deputy Superintendent and Deputy Matron at Haut de la Garenne as created by Patricia Thornton. States that Patricia Thornton's involvement at Haut de la Garenne, as well as Colin Tilbrook's infidelity, were key reasons behind Margaret Davies' decision to leave Haut de la Garenne, and Jersey. Notes that due to Margaret Davies' resignation, Colin Tilbrook also had to leave. Provides reflections on experiences at Haut de la Garenne, stating belief that Haut de la Garenne improved as a children's home during her tenure. Refers to comments of negative experiences for [residents], and allegations of abuse. [For Exhibits MD1 to MD17 referred to in this statement, see C/D/AW2/A6/12/WD006689/1 to C/D/AW2/A6/12/WD006689/17].
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