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St Hill

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Axiom142, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    St Hill at Christmas.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So who's going to St Hill this Christmas? £15 for a 3 course meal sounds like a bargain to me. :thumbsup:

    On second thoughts, you'd have to put up with all those strange people asking you to pay lots of money for things you've never heard of. Perhaps it's not worth it?

    This leaflet was passed onto me by a friend who got one as they were being handed out to the general public in East Grinstead last weekend. So, I presume that anyone can go. I wonder how many 'raw' public will turn up on their own?

    Just phone Silvia on the freephone number given (0800 587 5277) or email at the address given which is ‘sainthillfoudation@scientology.net’.

    Wait a minute! ‘Foudation’ - Shurely shome mishtake? :confused2: Now, it may be the case that St Hill Foundation have changed their name, but it looks like a spelling error to me.

    How is this possible? Scientology has the answer to everything, including literacy. I mean, what is the ‘Key To Life’ course for? The person who did this couldn’t be PTS and made a mistake, because they’ve go that covered as well.

    Or, perhaps is just another case of an over-worked, stress-out staff member making a silly mistake. Still, someone should have noticed?

    I’ve just noticed this text at the bottom of the second page:

    “The Church of Scientology retains the right to refuse entry to anyone who appears to be acting or would potentially act to the harm or disturbance of others.”

    Surely no one would go along and cause a disturbance? :ohmy:

    Axiom142
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2008
  2. Alan

    Alan Gold Meritorious Patron

    It is good to observe that they are going to ban the reges!
     
  3. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    :hysterical:

    Well spotted Alan!

    Yes, if they were to apply that literally, they would indeed have to ban all the reges.

    Ax
     
  4. British Mom

    British Mom Patron with Honors

    St. Hill events.

    I dont think they would be too happy if I went there, for their Christmas events, they would call Security :happydance: but there again I live along, long way from them now :clap: If I turned up, it would make them very :nervous: Oh Happy Days,,,,,,,,
     
  5. Tim Skog

    Tim Skog Silver Meritorious Patron

    Just show up for dessert and then leave. (Do you think it will be figgy pudding this year?):eyeroll:
     
  6. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Who knows?

    But I rather fancy that humble pie won't be on the menu. At least not yet. :)

    Ax
     
  7. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    More About St Hill.

    Since this thread is here now, I thought I’d write a little bit about St Hill. If anyone else has any interesting stories or even just the odd fact or two, please add them here as well.

    Firstly, a ‘locational’.

    The UK headquarters of Scientology are located in the grounds of St Hill manor just a mile or so to the south of East Grinstead. East Grinstead itself is a small town in the north-east corner of West Sussex, around 30 miles due south from central London. Gatwick airport is around 8 miles to the west.

    Here is a map showing the location of St Hill relative to East Grinstead:

    [​IMG]


    The St Hill estate or ‘base’ as the staff refer to it, is located amongst picturesque rolling green hills and lightly wooded countryside that characterises much of this part of Sussex. Hubbard purchased the estate in 1959, with the stated aim of having a quite, out of the way place to conduct research. The story went that he was followed there by Scientologists from all over the world who demanded training. This then necessitated the setting up of an organisation to deliver to them. Initially, courses were run in rooms set up in the Manor house itself and later moved to other buildings including the pavilion located next to the Manor.

    Further buildings were added over the years, including a chapel, management offices and a castle. The design for the castle was apparently sketched out by Hubbard himself, being based on a nearby castle at Tonbridge in Kent. Of course, when you are rushing headlong to save the world, you don’t always have time to deal with petty bureaucrats and apply for piffling trifles such as planning permission. So they didn’t. Fortunately for the CoS, planning enforcement wasn’t so strict as it is nowadays, so the castle remains standing. The actual construction started in the early 60s and parts of the castle were still unfinished in 1986 when I joined staff.

    At this time, much of the southern half of the building was an empty shell, not having been fitted out for habitation. The ‘Academy’ was located where the main reception now is (see map) and was very basic. It didn’t even have a proper ceiling and looking upwards while trying to make sense of a particularly indecipherable piece of Hubbard prose gave a good view of the naked light fittings and exposed fibres of the underneath of the roofing material. As far as I recall, this was the only courseroom outside of the Advanced Org and so I did my EPF (Sea Org induction) courses in there alongside would be auditors.

    Other parts of the castle were finished to a very rudimentary standard, and it definitely wasn’t ‘upstat’. The ‘garden’ in between the two wings of the castle was simply a waste ground as was much of the land immediately adjacent to the main building. This all changed starting around 1989 when ‘senior management’ decided that it all needed sprucing up. So, huge amounts of money were spent on bring in craftsmen and tradesmen and getting the whole building renovated from top to bottom. Since it was a castle, a medieval theme was chosen throughout with oak panelling and exposed beams combined with rustic plastering and leaded glass windows.

    For an idea of the layout, see this aerial photo:

    [​IMG]



    Since the CoS has a penchant for hyperbole and ‘bigging things up’, much was made of the fact that the castle was designed by Hubbard to provide the perfect environment for delivering Scientology services. The truth is somewhat different (of course!).

    Firstly, the building itself is a rather peculiar design and not at all conducive for provide an efficient working environment. It is located on a slope which falls away in two directions (from north to south and west to east). If such a building were to be built today, large earth-moving equipment would be brought in to level the site. But obviously this costs money, so the building is more or less ‘plonked’ down in the first available location.

    The end result of this is that the building is partly one story and partly two stories, but actually constructed on multiple levels. This means that you often have to go up or down various levels of stairs to move from location to location within the building. For example if you burst through the doors of the briefing course frantically trying to avoid being late (and thus being publicly admonished and subsequently sent to Ethics), you are immediately faced with a flight of about 4 or 5 steps. If you are in too much of a hurry and also a bit tipsy or wearing high heels, a very nasty accident can result! (don’t ask me how I know).

    In addition, many of the corridors are not level, with noticeable slopes. It certainly does not meet the legal requirements for access for disabled people. Also, the foundations appear to be inadequate for a building of this size, with evidence of subsidence as indicated by large cracks in some of the walls and bowing out of several windows caused by movement of the frames. Some of the offices for staff are not very pleasant, particularly those under the ‘Great Hall’ as these are located below ground level with little daylight. In fact, the Central Files area which is also located under the Hall, is entirely without windows. Thus, anyone working there will not see any daylight at all, except on their meal breaks or during ‘study time’.

    Most of the public areas are quite nice though, with real oak panelling in most of the courserooms and the auditing rooms are mostly located where you can have a decent view of the surrounding countryside.

    There are two service orgs located at St Hill. These are AOSHUK (the advanced org) and St Hill Foundation. Originally, there was the St Hill Day organisation which delivered services during the day and whose staff were full-time. At the end of the ‘normal’ day, staff would leave their posts and the Foundation staff would take over from the same locations. The Foundation staff schedule was evenings and weekends. This seemed to work quite well and gave staff members the opportunity to work and get trained / processed at the same time.

    In the early 70s, the Apollo Advanced Org moved from Edinburgh to St Hill and AOSH was created. This perhaps upset the dynamics of the Day / Foundation relationship as AOSH delivers services throughout the day (9:30am – 10:00pm) and at weekends. This leaves St Hill Foundation competing for customers with an org that is much larger, has more trained staff and better delivery facilities. As a result, Foundation has struggled and is not really viable.

    AOSH is staffed entirely by Sea Org members, while Foundation has around a 50:50 mix of SO and contracted / volunteer staff. Having such a large, well-known org on its doorstep has created huge problems for Foundation and they struggle to get enough money in to meet their basic obligations, let alone pay the staff a decent wage. A non-Sea Org staffer will have to work around 40 hours each week and will be lucky to get more than about £50. There have been periods of several weeks when staff received no pay at all!

    When I was on lines, AOSH had around 150 staff, and Foundation had around 30, although I wouldn’t be surprised if these numbers had dropped given all the travails of the past year. AOSH officially went ‘St Hill size’ in the mid 90s, which meant that they would have had around 200 staff. This brought the Universe Corps which consisted of one C/S and about 2 auditors. They were supposed to get all the staff up to OT, but obviously didn’t have the resources to audit that many people. They left after a few years and most of the staff are nowhere near being OT.

    Last time I checked, there were ‘org boards’ posted just down the corridor from reception with all the staff members details marked in Dymo tape alongside their posts. It was rather mystifying to see that most of the top execs within Foundation were hardly trained and very low on the Bridge. There was the odd person, mainly in the Technical areas who was OTVI or whatever and class VI etc, but most of the staff seemed to have only made it through their objectives or perhaps Grade I if they were lucky and had no Technical training. If the Tech was so wonderful, then why weren’t the staff being got up the Bridge and therefore made much more effective? Didn’t make sense. :confused2:

    Axiom142
     
  8. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Even More on St Hill.

    Here are another couple of maps showing some of the other buildings and locations of interest:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    In addition to the service orgs, there are all the management orgs. St Hill is the UK headquarters of the CoS and so pretty much everything happens here. Located in the castle is the local RTC office. There were around 3 people there. Also in the castle is security, which are responsible for securing the base and other buildings. In addition, they are supposed to be on the lookout for staff displaying non-optimum signs such as being a security risk or PTS etc. Not sure of the numbers, but would assume around 10 in number. The IAS reges are also in the castle and they would normally number about 3 or 4. Not always there as they go out to visit the outer orgs on fund-raising trips. Finally, we have all the ‘extra’ fundraising / regging staff who would get people signed up to Flag for services and donating money to SuperPower etc, these would be about 5 – 10 in number.

    The result of all these people wanting something (usually money) makes it very uncomfortable being a public Scientologist at St Hill. I think it was probably much worse here than at most of the other orgs simply because of the number of staff all trying to do their jobs. Many was the time that I’d spot Ginger Smith (IAS) coming down the corridor and I’d suddenly remember that I’d left something in the courseroom and have to run back and slip out the back door! And it wasn’t just the IAS and SuperPower who were after your money. Books for Africa (Hubbard ones of course), books for Albania, books for the libararies, books for somewhere else, calendars for local businesses, gifts for visiting dignitaries, tickets to the IAS ball for staff who couldn’t afford it – these all had to be paid for! I lost count of how much I was pressured into paying for ‘other’ things. You soon learned to dress as shabbily as possible to avoid being marked as someone with money to burn.

    Then there is the CLO (Continental Liaison Office) which is responsible for running the service orgs, but also includes the Senior LRH Communicators office, senior HCO, SMI (Scientology Mission International), Continental Finance, the Tours org and other bits and pieces, including External Comm who are responsible for Telex traffic and picking up mail etc. CLO are normally responsible for sending missions out to orgs to ‘sort them out’. There would be around 20 – 30 staff in CLO and they are located in a separate building just down the hill from the castle.

    Then we have the Commodores Messengers Org, which is a sort of glorified police force. They look over the shoulders of everyone else (apart from RTC – no one messes with them!) and make sure that they do as they are supposed to. There would be perhaps 5 – 10 staff here and they were located in the basement of the Manor, last time I checked.

    OSA (Office of Special Affairs) are located in a building attached to the West side of the Manor.

    Then we have the Finance / IAS admin people located in the South Lodge. Not sure exactly what went on there as it was all hush-hush. Probably around 5 people there I guess.

    Making up the numbers are the various estates personnel who maintain the buildings and grounds. Included here are the EPF (Estates Project Force) who are new recruits to the Sea Org and have to undergo an induction program of physical labour and study for a few months before they can be posted to a ‘proper’ job. The EPF do lots of the donkey work in the grounds.

    Staff numbers are based on my own observations, but may be a couple of years out of date. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a significant number of staff had left in the past year or so.

    Each October, the St Hill base hosts the IAS events. This consists of the main event where the IAS freedom medals are handed out, the IAS Patrons Ball where the awards for achieving ‘Honor’ status in the IAS are given and the Charity Gala Concert.

    Since there isn’t enough space in the main St Hill events hall, a huge marquee is erected in the field immediately to the west of the castle. This marquee really is big, being around 100m long by 70m wide. It takes about 3 weeks to erect, by a specialist company and is equipped with heating units, generators, portable toilets, kitchen and a VIP area for important guests.

    The first event is ‘free’ and consists of Miscavige and others presenting an overview of the past year regarding Scientology, particularly focussing on ‘wins’ from members of the IAS. Of course they leave all the bad bits out and don’t mention the losses. At this event, Miscavige hands out the IAS Freedom Medals. Of course, when Tom Cruise got his in 2004, it was an extra special ‘Freedom Medal of Valor’. I was in the audience that night and that was the only time I really felt as though Scientology could take off and make a global difference. Just shows how easy it is to get caught up in all the hype. :duh:

    Although the event is free to attend, there is a lot of regging going on for money or materials etc. Best to leave your cheque book at home! For an idea of what this event looks like, see this: http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?t=6571

    Then there is the Patrons Ball which costs from around £285 a seat. For this you get a 4 or 5 course meal, which is rather fancy but not very filling. Then, all the people who have achieved the status of IAS patron and above throughout the year are presented with their awards (plaque and a decorative pin). There are various levels, starting with Patron ($50,000) and going all the way up to about $10,000,000 with some improbable-sounding title.

    The high ticket price is justified by the need to pay for all the other events including the marquee hire. Usually there are around 1,000 guests which equates to around £300,000 in ticket sales!

    Then the next night we have the concert with performances by various Scientology artists.

    The IAS events brings thousands of Scientologists from all around the world to St Hill, so is quite good news for AOSH as there are many prospective customers. Not so good for Foundation as most of these people will do higher-level services and not bother with Foundation who are ill-equipped to service anyone anyway.

    But for the staff generally, the IAS event is a nightmare. For about a month before-hand there is frantic work in preparation. And there is the added pressure that Miscavige will be arriving and may inspect any part of the orgs with dire consequences attendant upon any perceived infractions. In 2006, the new London org building was due to be opened. Of course everything had to be ready for the IAS event so there was frantic activity to get it all renovated in time. I spoke to one of the Foundation staff members who said that he had been up to London 11 times to do painting etc. This wasn’t instead of his post, it was in addition to it! He was expected to do a full day (9:30am – 10pm) and then get on the bus to London and spend the nigh painting before coming back in time to start another day on his ‘normal’ post! He had received hardly any sleep the previous week.

    In addition, the whole event has to be paid for, including flying over Miscavige and cronies and various ‘VIPs’ and putting them up. And of course they can’t fly economy either.

    So for Foundation, this event is a financial disaster. It often takes several months to pay for it, which further depresses their meagre financial resources.

    St Hill is a very pleasant place to visit and there are lots of wonderful people there, but it is very detrimental to your financial health to be there.

    So that is a brief description of St Hill. Please feel free to add anything that you think is relevant. I hope this was useful and informative.

    Axiom142
     
  9. feline

    feline Patron Meritorious

    Absolutely useful and informative. And interesting as well. I appreciate the maps- it gives me a better sense of what I'm looking at.
     
  10. Zander

    Zander Patron with Honors

    Thanks for your work in putting this all together Ax, it's very interesting.

    I remember the renovations in 1989. The course room kept moving about to different locations, there was mud everywhere. They were aiming to get everything completed by some event (the birthday event I think), it seemed completely impossible. But they had to "make it go right" - they did this by spending huge amounts of money on contractors. These worked alongside scientologist volunteers paid in training awards - somehow that didn't seem equitable.

    God knows what they must have spent on the fixtures and fittings too, the oak panelled walls, the oak furniture, the mediaeval style tapestries, the chesterfield red leather sofas.... a strange place, a mix of old style and new, the uniformed SO members marching around with their clipboards, all smiles hiding their steely determination. They want your money and they want it NOW! All for the good of the planet of course.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  11. Amadeus Einstein

    Amadeus Einstein Patron with Honors

    This brought back so many memories, all the good times as well as the bad.
     
  12. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Thanks very much for this, Ax.

    The Academy being in what is now reception is an interesting story. At the time the SH Directors of Training (not a typo, and there wasn't a SH D of T and a Deputy, there were two people of equal stature on one post), one of whom was Frank O'Sullivan, were running the Academy in one of the currently-marked courserooms, and it was a bit cramped. So one night after everyone else had gone home they enlisted the help of the students and just moved into the empty Reception area. They didn't get any approval or anything, they just did it! It would never have been approved, because the area wasn't finished, with bare concrete, no false ceiling hiding the service fixtures, missing doors etc. But they didn't have enough space so just took the initiative and did it. They got away with it, in that they remained on post and the Academy stayed where they moved it, and gradually got finished. In the meantime great sheets of plastic doubled for doors etc. to keep some of the draught out.

    Yes, the underground rooms are a drag, like Treasury and CF while I was there. Also the pc folder storage was underground, which in England in winter means DAMP. Not exactly ideal conditions for storing paper in. I went and wrapped plastic around my own pc folders, but they still smelled mouldy. The standard paper for worksheets was not regular bond paper, but foolscap-size newsprint, which is far less robust. It was always interesting when I was in Tech Services there to see folders from the US with beautiful legal size proper writing paper as opposed to the cheapest possible paper we could find, always hard to get as foolscap is not a standard paper size and not easily obtainable. I don't know what they use now. When I tried to get some folders and worksheet paper in the UK recently I looked around for foolscap and just gave up and settled for A4 (similar to letter size). I would love to be able to get legal size paper easily here.

    Paul
     
  13. Lesolee (Sith Lord)

    Lesolee (Sith Lord) Patron Meritorious

    Well now, the story I heard about the castle was that they had found the remains of an old castle on the site. They therefore did not need planning permission because every Englishman has a right to rebuild his castle, apparently. :confused2: That’s why it has stupidly thick walls and so forth. It was basically a dodge to get around the planning regulations.

    I remember the castle being readied for an event as it was being constructed. They said it was going to be ready for the next week or so. I looked at it and said “no way”. They had not even levelled the ground, let alone seeded it with grass. There was no way the grass could grow in time. Ah! But I did not factor-in the time pressure. They turfed it. :duh: See, I would never have dreamt they had that much money to throw at the problem. (I assume that turf is considerably more expensive than seeding, but I don’t have any figures or experience in the matter.)

    You know that whole promo spell-checking thing is probably not down to illiteracy, as such. The thing is that half the staff at AOSH seem to be foreign.

    I remember one time I got roped in (I was public) to help proof-read some promo. The SO girl said that it had to be read by someone whose first language was English (and that wasn’t her first language). It was a bit bizarre. We were checking over this promo and every time her boss walked into the room she had to stand to attention. How f*cked up is that? I think this senior deliberately kept walking in and out just to assert her power! It wasn’t good for production.

    So this SO girl told me that she had to do this crap (which I don’t think you would even do in the military when it is your own officer in your own office), suggesting implicitly that I should to. :no: I think if pushed the military officer might say “as you were” before you noticed their arrival, or something SANE. Needless to say I didn’t stand up when the “senior” walked in the room. Hey, I wasn’t in the Sea Org, ok. :thumbsup:

    When I was last down there, around January of 2008, I did a quick “hello tour”. It had been raining within the past few days, which is never a good thing. Although the place superficially looks nice, the drainage is poor and the land is very boggy in places after any rain. I would think the land was originally cheap as it is unsuitable for agriculture. I walked around the lake and I wasn’t impressed with the upkeep of the place. Black stinking water in the water-way leading up to the lake is not a pleasant smell or sight.:angry:

    On the way back up to the castle I saw a bench rotting and literally having fallen apart so you couldn’t sit on it. (The seating area was normal at one end, but on the ground at the other end.) All pretty downstat in my book.
     
  14. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Lesolee,

    I had heard the same story about the building of the castle. I’m not sure that it is based in fact though. I think Hubbard just ordered the building of the structure without the necessary planning permission on the basis that it could be ‘handled’ afterwards. This seems to be the natural operating basis of the CoS. JFDI and worry about the consequences afterwards. :eyeroll:

    To be fair, I don’t think that January is the best time to be walking around outside in the English countryside and expect to see it at its best. The grounds are very pleasant in the spring and summer, when all the flowers are out and the ground is dry and able to be walked on without getting muddy.

    But you are right, the maintenance appears to have been neglected over the past couple of years. I guess this is indicative of the general decline of the CoS in this country. There just aren’t enough staff (or enough money) to do all the things that have to be done. Making places pretty doesn’t directly bring in any money, so gets neglected. I too have seen several benches falling apart, blocked drains, rips in the sofa fabric in reception, rotting window frames etc. Numerous times I walked down from the car park to the castle in the dark, because the street lamps were not working.

    I had to remove my high heels to avoid an accident!

    Axiom142
     
  15. Axiom142

    Axiom142 Gold Meritorious Patron

    As I mentioned before, the layout of St Hill is a bit of a mess, with various courserooms, auditing rooms and offices etc being spread out over multiple floors with access only provided by steps. This would make it very difficult for someone in a wheelchair to be able to move about the castle freely without having a couple of helpers available to carry them.

    For example, the Qual area, including the library and the Internship courseroom are located under the main reception area and can only be reached by two sets of steps, thus making it almost impossible to be accessed if you were in a wheelchair. In addition, many of the auditing rooms are rather small and combined with the inward-opening doors, means that they could not be used by a wheelchair-user.

    Also, there are no toilets in the castle that have been equipped for disabled users, thus making it very difficult for disabled people to even visit St Hill, let alone be regular ‘customers’ or even staff.

    Therefore, the Church of Scientology at St Hill is in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, details of which can be found here: http://direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/Everydaylifeandaccess/Everydayaccess/DG_4018353

    Extract:

    The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) gives disabled people important rights of access to everyday services.

    Everyday services include services provided by local councils, doctors' surgeries, shops, hotels, banks, pubs, post offices, theatres, hairdressers, places of worship, courts and voluntary groups such as play groups
    .”

    Unfortunately, the Government have seen fit to leave it up to individuals to enforce this law. But, if you are covered under the terms of this act and would like to force the CoS to improve its access to its facilities, you could take action as shown in the link, or contact The Equality and Human Rights Commission, website here: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/Pages/default.aspx

    I suppose that even if you are not disabled, you could still write to the CoS and tell them that they are in breach of this law and that they should take steps to meet the requirements of this law.

    The address is:

    Office of Special Affairs
    St Hill Manor
    Saint Hill Road
    East Grinstead
    West Sussex
    RH19 4JY
    United Kingdom

    At the very least, it would give OSA the chance to count some stats, e.g. ‘Legal Threats Identified and Handling Begun’ etc. :whistling:

    Axiom142
     
  16. Amadeus Einstein

    Amadeus Einstein Patron with Honors

    The Church doesn't want wheelchair-users, or customers with any other form of disability. They're "downstat", remember?
     
  17. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    AOSHUK Solo Tech Div 1993

    Left-to-right:

    Mick Parkee; Chris Burton; #1? ; #2? ; #3? ; Isla Pryde ; Doug Acheson ; #4? ; Linda Jones ; Ros DeLacy ; Peter Thompson

    Peter Thompson wasn't in the AO but was so big-headed he wanted to be in every shot even though he had a whole photo to himself in the brochure. Since Linda Jones is in both pix too, I think she was (is?) the Qual Sec.

    Paul
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    NOTs Tech Div 1993

    Left-to-right:

    #5? ; Naomi ? (Whittaker around 1980) ; #6? ; #7? ; #8? ; #9? ; #10? ; #11? ; Liz Cotton (married now?) ; Ingo Metzner ; Rebecca Dodd ; Linda Jones ; John Taylor ; #12? ; John Harding (I think) ; #13? ; Peter Thompson

    Paul
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Oh wow - a few familiar faces for me in this one!
    Is that a 'uniform' they are wearing? :omg:
     
  20. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    Yes, but the stripes are an artifact and not part of it. Note the grass is striped too.

    Paul