History of St Loye’s
St Loye’s history is marked by an act of vision by an inspirational woman, Dame Georgiana Buller DBE.
Dame Georgiana was born at Downes, Credition, in Devon, in 1883. Awarded the Royal Red Cross for her work in supporting charities, Dame Georginia was the driving force behind the creation of St Loye’s in 1937.
She put forward the need to create a residential training college for disabled people. Her vision was that training and employment support should be given to help disabled people to achieve their potential and overcome the barriers they faced in society.
Dame Georgiana led an army of volunteers who were active in fundraising for St Loye’s in its early days. The volunteers even ran a fundraising ‘flower ball’ at the Savoy Hotel, London, in 1947.
We have benefited from the support of many inspiring people throughout our history, including figures like the Battle of Britain flying ace Sir Douglas Bader, who was a long-standing supporter of St Loye’s. Her Majesty the Queen has been our Patron for many years.
Throughout our history, we have benefited from gifts of time and funding from many friends and supporters.
Our history timelineClick here to view the 1930s
1937 – Course options included Horological repairs, cookery, house/handyman and gardening.
1937 – July saw the arrival of the first trainees, by 1938, there were 25 trainees.
1938 – Dame Violet Wills, known Philanthropist generous donation allowed Millbrook House to be purchased to allow training.
1939 – The War Years – placed on the Central Register of Accommodation reserved for Government purposes and included in the official scheme for the treatment of war casualties – beds increased from 40 to 70.
1943 – by 1943, 63 women trainees had been admitted, 19 ex-trainees were in economic employment at the college and 4,677 treatments had been recorded in the occupational therapy department for the benefit of war casualties.
1946 – by 1946 the college had 105 beds for men and 52 for women, 19 courses and a n occupational therapy department.
1953 – Dame Georgiana Buller sadly passed. She will be remembered for her great gifts as a public speaker, fund raiser and her unbounded capacity for sheer hard work.
1953 –George Northcott accepts Chairmanship, he had a wide interest in many fields particularly the world of industry, and he carried out the role with skill and understanding
1963 – Sadly due to a long illness George Northcott passed, he left behind a legacy through his hard work, imagination and ingenuity. He eliminated a large debt and put the College on a firm financial footing.
1963 – Sir Henry Studdy CBE takes over as Chairman, continuing to pioneer the work of further developments.
1965 – The spectacular achievement of 1965 was the completion on schedule of the new Workshops and Classroom and their ceremonial opening by Group Captain Douglas Bader CBE, DSO, DFC on July 21st.
1966 – In October the new Recreation Hall extension was added, providing additional facilities for winter recreational activities. New Kitchens were also completed thanks to the generosity of the Trustees of the North Devon Foundation.
1969 – A significant year, increased voluntary income through a successful television appeal via the BBC from Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader.
1972 – In the previous 12 months the College trained 230 men and women of whom 213 were placed in worthwhile jobs.
1974 – Far reaching and comprehensive development plans announced comprising five interrelated programmes of work including extension of workshop facilities, new technical and catering stores etc.
1979 – Despite economic gloom and worsening employment situation, 1979 was a year of progress and solid achievement. The highlight was Friday 9th November when the College was honoured by the visit of its Patron, Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh to officially open the extended and modernised residential hostel, Northcott House.
1983 – To meet the needs of a growing number of applicants, the College decided to modify its entry criteria to admit any young person considered likely to benefit personally, socially and educationally from the Further Education course and to complete it as to enhance their chances of securing an independent working life.
1984 – The College produces video films on Adult Training and The Further Education Unit for wide distribution within the Disablement Advisory Service and Specialist Careers Service.
1986 – A highlight of the year was the launch of the College’s Golden Jubilee Appeal by Lieutenant Colonel The Earl of Morley, Lord Lieutenant for Devon.
1987 – The College now provided a 36-week programme of modular training in Office Skills for all entrants.
1987 – Throughout 1987 the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the foundation of the College took pride of place.
1987 – The highlight of the year was on the 8th October when the College was honoured with a visit from Her Royal Highnesss, The Princess Royal, formally opening the new Commercial Skills suite extension and presenting diplomas to St. Loye’s School students at their graduation ceremony.
1997 – Diamond Jubilee celebrations are held to mark the 60th anniversary of St Loye’s. The celebrations include a grand auction of promises to raise funds for the Diamond Jubilee appeal. It was estimated that at the time of the anniversary more than 16,000 people had been through the gates of St Loye’s since its founding in 1937.
2012 – This year sees St Loye’s Foundation celebrate its 75th anniversary. One of the highlights being a celebration with friends and supporters at Exeter Cathedral.
2015 – Early in the year we join forces with the Community Care Trust (South West) Limited, a mental health charity.