May the Fourth be With You
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Our second cache, named after our daughter Emily's birthday as this cache was a present from one of her friends. An easy walk from Wallingford to get to this cache or alternatively there is plently parking nearby. This is a nano cache with no room for a pencil so you need to bring your own.
Situated along a beautiful path that leads down the side of the Thames, this cache is located near the former Carmel College which was a Jewish co-educational boarding school in England operating between 1948 and 1997. It was first situated at Greenham Common near Newbury and then at Mongewell Park near Wallingford, Oxfordshire. It was Europe's only Jewish boarding school.
Replacing the original Georgian Mongewell House of Barrington, a large brick mansion in William and Mary style was built in 1890 for Alexander Frazer whose initials can be seen on the lodge gates (Pedgley and Pedgley, 1990). After Fraser died in 1916, the house became a hospital for wounded officers in World War I. In 1918, it was sold to the American millionaire Howard Gould. Because he was an atheist, he had the lane to the now ruined Mongewell church sunk so that he would not see the parishioners attending service. He sold the house in 1939 and the Royal Air Force occupied it until 1945. In 1942 it became the Headquarters for No 2 Group RAF of Bomber Command led by Air Vice Marshal Basil Embry. On the Staff there for six months before his capture as a POW was the World War II night fighter ace, Wing Commander Bob Braham (Braham, 1984).
At the end of the war the house was once more used as a hospital before becoming derelict.
The school was founded in 1948 by the late Kopul Rosen and closed in June 1997 due to bad management, diminishing pupil numbers and financial difficulties. The school grounds were sold to property developers for an undisclosed fee in 1997, however, the sale was overturned by the Charity Commission following significant pressure from parents and former students who claimed the land was undersold. The distinctive concrete synagogue, dining hall, and amphitheatre, designed by local architect Thomas Hancock, are Grade II listed buildings; the Julius Gottlieb gallery and boathouse, designed by Sir Basil Spence, is Grade II listed.
The Mansion House was an old manor house with particular significance. Agatha Christie (who lived nearby in Wallingford) used it as the basis for the mansion in her 1952 play The Mousetrap
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