In 1926 the property High House was purchased for
£4,750, its new owners being the Workers' Travel
The WTA had been founded five years previously, its
purpose being to provide working people with cheap
holidays abroad. However, it became evident that many
working people would appreciate the chance to take
holidays in their own country and so, after some initial
reluctance, the WTA decided to purchase a suitable
property which could be converted into a Guest House.
High House was the first of what turned out to be a
variety of properties, sited in England, Scotland and
Wales. Thanks to the WTA, during the late twenties and
through the thirties, and again after the Second World
War, many less-wealthy families were able to enjoy
holidays in beautiful areas both at home and abroad.
Travel links by rail and air were well established.
In early 1939, when people from Eastern European began
to flee from the threat of Nazi oppression, the
newly-formed British Committee for Czech Refugees asked
the WTA to lend its resources to aid a mass escape of
endangered families. This was agreed at once and, under
cover of its usual tourist operations, with specially
chartered trains and ships, and later planes courtesy of
the Dutch airline KLM, the WTA played a pivotal role in
the rescue of many hundreds of souls from both
Czechoslovakia and Poland. Full details of this amazing
piece of forgotten history can be found elsewhere*, but
it's interesting to note that High House was used as a
stop-over where some of these refugees stayed until more
permanent arrangements could be made.
In late 1943 the High House was taken over by the
Government to house Italian prisoners of war, as was the
building in the High Street (opposite the then Greyhound
Public House) which is now an
House had many changing faces,
Ruskin School, WTA and ‘Galleon
Holidays’ in the 1950's.