St. Hill Estates Org - circa. 1975 to 1984


Hi to my many old friends from the old St Hill Estates Org - circa. 1975 to 1984.
Castle Project and CO Estates in good times and bad. Many untold stories.

Regards to all on the board . . . good to see Mick Parkee is still going.

Basically I knew most of the guys serving in the SO from the period 1975/1984, those in Estates Org . . . on various RPFs . . . or those who worked on the Castle Project.

From Stables to Stonelands, Brookhouse, Bullards and the Manor. If there ever was a definition of 'insanity it would surely cover the events of that period which eventually led to collapse of Estates and demise of most of the crew.

Sorry to hear that John Cronin passed away . . . as has Moira Calder, who blew to Australia with Jurgen Wissig and her three children, David, Tony and Justine.

Q. Does anyone know what happened to Raef Warren ?
Q. Does anyone know the name of the women who living at the Stables. She had spent an eternity on 'product 0' due to study issues. She was finally offloaded with her small child. She may have been from Denmark/Sweden?


Can I first thank Paul (Dulloldfart) for posting an amazing collection of photos from historical Stonelands showing many crew who I could recognise . . . even one that included me sitting next to my ex . . . which came as a bit of a shock.

I remember Graham Zimmatore and Steve Lake from the Castle construction and was amazed to see that Graham was still on staff and now holding a pretty high post. Obviously he managed to stop breaking things but probably hasn't ceased looking after #1 - namely himself.

I remember how he managed to roll a massive snowball across the roof of Stage 4/5 of the new castle. It must have weighed as much as a small car.
At some point John Chadder noticed that the roof had started to "sag" and assumed that the structural engineers had miscalculated the roof loadings and they were told to retro-fit additional purlons. Lucky for Zimm the evidence had melted.

Raef Warren was a great friend who had an almost uncanny ability to be able to produce starters for the tube lights from his pocket. He also had a pretty low electrical resistance and survived being electrocuted while wiring up the buzz bars in the basement of the Connector. The shock had sent him flying across the the room. John Chadder asked if he was OK and when Raef replied that he was, John said . . . "Good, now ffffucking fix it".

Apart from driving crew buses John Cronin also became a seasoned brick layer, such a shame that he has passed on.
I remember Anna Rutherford busing the kids to and from Stonelands (not someone I would care to tangle with).

I found the stash of E Doc Smith sci-fi books in the Stonelands library . . . the complete Lensman series . . . and managed to read the whole lot. This left me with a burning passion for Baroque sci-fi classics like Frank Herbert's Dune, Peter F Hamilton and Dan Simmons.

The most upstat part of Stonelands was probably the Nursery which had a cork floor and functioning kitchen. It resembled a summer pavilion and was separated from the main house by the easement to the fields behind Stonelands. Robin Scott was I/C of that little island of tranquillity.

The courtyard between the main house and the annex was used to dry crew laundry from the little wash-room. There were four or five washing machines in there, some of which didn't work. There was also a set of drain rods used to clear disposable nappies from blocked toilets and drains. One thing that residents didn't appreciate was when toilets started backing up.

I remember driving all the way to the Raid® research facility in Tunbridge Wells to get something to combat the fleas that had infested the berthing at the galley end of the house. The Raid® research facility looked a bit like Bletchley Park with dozens of half cylindrical nisson huts. I spent a whole afternoon there drinking cups of tea listening to a series of lengthy lectures on fleas from an ancient professor wearing a white lab-coat with a breast pocket stuffed full of Biros and a little slide rule.

It turned out that the questionable fleas were in fact bird fleas coming from old nests in the roof spaces. They are more vicious than dog or cat fleas and able to hatch from dormant egg into an adult within seconds of sensing body warmth or vibration and able to jump surprising distances.
He was a typical reclusive professor who couldn't have had much human contact because I came away with a complete box full of cans of Raid® aerosol . . . more than enough to handle the fleas and probably some nits as well.

Allegedly it was Mark Gardner who had been perving from the tree at Brookhouse and subsequently ended up on the RPF . . . although I am open to correction on that . . . maybe just an arborist.

The gorgeous blonde bouncing about in the dumper truck was sadly accused of trying to burn down the Manor following an accident with a blow lamp. I can't imagine the number of alien demons they tried to audit out of her pretty little skull before she was unceremoniously offloaded.

I can remember a large wire cage on the roof of the Manor and the box of military grade matches held ready to burn any sensitive material in the event of a visit from MI5. This was later superceded by the construction of an industrial sized incinerator down by the Stables. Exactly who paid for it or who profited from it, I never did discover.

John Spick was another friend that I was sad to see go. He took off so fast, he lost control of his Citroen 2CV on a bend and went through a hedge. The car ended up in a field but he was able to walk away without a scratch. I never did find out if he ever got back together with Annette and the two boys.

2D relationships were like a game of musical chairs. Sometimes the chairs were being pulled away before you had chance to sit down.