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4 June 2021
Goddards was built by Frederick and Margaret Mirrielees. They were introduced to 'Ned' Lutyens by Gertrude Jekyll in 1898 because they wanted to commission a small-scale charitable building – a 'house of rest' for impoverished working women. Their own daughter 'was looked after by a 28 year-old governess and it was perhaps concerns for the difficulties of governesses, who were often unable to take holidays of any kind, that inspired them. At Goddards they created a comfortable house where a small community of single women could live for a week or two away from the hardship of their professions.' This wonderful scheme lasted from 1900-1910 when Goddards became a private house. In honour of those governesses (cf. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Alas, Poor Lady in particular) in October 2012 Persephone Books celebrated the publication of its 100th book at Goddards. A few of the current Persephone girls stayed for the weekend and several former Persephone girls came for Sunday lunch. Among all the 200 Landmarks, Goddards is the only one that was built for women; although of course every one of their houses was actually built for women. It's just that we don't mention them.
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