Bengeo Nursing Home
Now called Grafton Towers
By Marilyn Taylor
c1868 built as Lime Tree Cottage. possibly for Mr John Cooper – Ironmonger of Hertford.
1886 purchased by Mr Alfred Baker—Solicitor, Mayor and Town Clerk who change the name to The Limes. He lived there until his death in 1929.
Its address has alternated over the years from ’Port Hill’ to ’1 Bengeo Street’.
It was probably a smaller house than what we see today, hence the “cottage” name. It has been suggested that the “Tower” may have been added to resemble that of Danes Hill opposite.
1930s Mr and Mrs Cecil J Hancox lived there before moving to Tunley in Warren Park Road.
c1938 and during WW2 it was “The Bengeo Nursing Home” (see advert).
A number of local people were born there and it is possible some of the expectant mothers who were staying at Panshanger were brought her to give birth as Lady Desborough did not allow them to give birth in the house. Others went to Fanhams Hall and Great Couzens in Ware before returning to Panshanger with their new borns.
c1950s Purchased by Mr George Defty who re-named it Grafton Towers.
He owned the Wonder laundry in Brewhouse Lane off St Andrew Street in Hertford and lived there for many years before moving back to St Andrew Street to run an antiques shop.
It is still a private house and still looks similar to the picture in the Nursing Home advert.
The photographs are courtesy of Mr John Bevan. They show the view from one of the windows in the 1940’s, the house, Matron Smith and 2 of the nurses.