Phyllis Bailey was born in 1926. She attended the Foundling Hospital school at both Redhill and Berkhamsted. She went into domestic service on leaving the school and then served in the Wrens during the last years of World War II. She has held a number of different administrative jobs during her career, and currently lives in London.

Phyllis in her guides unifrom
Phyllis with her half sisters


Audio Transcript

Our Christmases were lovely - because we had - all the dining room was all decorated out with beautiful, coloured like Chinese lanterns but they weren't lit until the lunch on Christmas day - they were put up about a week before but they were actually lit on Christmas day. And the tables were all laid out with white clothes and with crackers and fruit and a little bag of sweets at each place, it really looked very, very nice. It was the one day in the year when the staff waited on us. And after lunch we would all go back to the playrooms and a big hamper would be brought in. Because when the foster mothers arrived on their last visit before Christmas they would bring presents for their children and they were kept to one side until Christmas day... and it didn't occur to us at the time, until afterwards, but they brought the hamper in and every child had a present and we realised afterwards that those foster mothers, like my foster mother, who hadn't been able to come - they had made a note of the children whose foster mothers hadn't come and they supplied a present for them and so we all had a present and nobody knew whether it was from your mother or whether it was from the school. But as I say, it was one of those things, at the time, we didn't, you know, really think about it.