Retired Worcester man Brian Pingriff is filled with nostalgic memories every time he and his wife pass the bottom of Ranelagh Road on their weekly shopping trips to Malvern.

For when he was fifteen, he began an apprenticeship with a central heating company and went along to help install a solid-fuel central-heating boiler at the Convent of the Holy Name.

Brian was responding to our appeal for memories of the convent which was established in Ranelagh Road in 1887 and was home to 250 nuns in its heyday before finally closing in 1989.

Conservation specialist Broadway Heritage has just converted the Grade Two listed building into homes and is also building fourteen new houses in the grounds.

Mr Pingriff told how he was working in a small outside room below ground level in hot weather, but that luckily it was next to the kitchen and the nuns had kept him and his work mate well supplied with liquid refreshments.

“During the 1950s, the nuns took in young expectant mothers and cared for them when their babies were born, and because of this they were very selective over who they would allow to work there,” he said.

“So, after installing the boiler, they would only allow myself and the person I was apprenticed with to do maintenance work. I must have had an angelic face at the time.”

Mr Pingriff told how during the summer months they did outside maintenance work, including checking for leaks on the lead-sheeted roof, together with internal repairs in the bathrooms and kitchens and to the hand pumps which drew water from underground wells.

“While working inside, several nuns would stop and talk to us but then next day or day after they would pass by without speaking which we were a little concerned about, thinking we had said the wrong thing,” he said.

“But the bursar, whom we dealt with on all matters, assured us we had not caused offence because at times they were not allowed to speak to anyone while on retreat.

“We were always expected to have coffee with the nuns in the kitchen during the mornings and tea and cakes, which they had made, in the afternoons which needless to say, I never refused.

“On the right-hand side of Ranelagh Road was a large garden area where a gardener was employed full time and nuns and novices helped growing all the vegetables for the kitchen.”

“But once I completed my apprenticeship, I was quickly enlisted into the RAF and therefore was unable to visit the convent again.”

Please send your responses Malvern Memories, 27 Bridge Street, Pershore, WR10 1AJ or by email to