One of the surprises awaiting us when you walk around the central courtyard of the orphanage is the presence of a dolmen, described in 1842 by the Abbé Bourasse, The name “Labarde” comes from the gascon ‘Bard’ which designated mud or silt. Given the marshy nature of this place, we can opt for this etymological origin.
This first phase of the project opened on September 22, 1901. An architect competition is open for the building of an orphanage. The orphanage opened on September 10, 1906. All around the orphanage, we note the inclusion of ceramic enamelled in masonry. Apart from non-figurative motifs over all architecture and umbrella ceramics, there on the Eastern façade on the entire length of the building, between the ground floor and the first floor, on repetitive patterns of clusters of vine (certainly in tribute to the great vineyards of the Bard high).
Two medallions, surrounded by laurels, representing profiles of children, frame the main entrance of the Eastern façade. The right one is signed with a C and an interwoven A.These allow us to think that this is the work of Auguste Chauvigné father (1829-1904). This RAM Thapa ceramist, of the school of Tours, is a disciple of Charles Avisseau (1796-1861).Died during the work of the Bard high, his son, Auguste Chauvigné son (1855-1929), perhaps completed its work.
To better understand the interior layout of the orphanage, we now include André Morel article: “A magnificent perron, provides access to the large central hallway giving access to the reception offices, classrooms planned for 150 students, the refectory and the room parties. «In the adjoining building from left, medical service with isolation room, infirmary, pharmacy. “In the Pavilion of right: office, laundry, kitchen, showers, bathrooms and workshops of manual work for vocational training of specialists of the building while agricultural education was in farms.”. “In the basement can be found in two floors, four dormitories of 16 beds with ancillary rooms and full development of sanitation services, lingerie, dressing room and central heating boilers. “On the 3rd floor, under roof, 32 rooms and service rooms, and at the top, the huge reservoir distributing water throughout the building.
All the expenses of construction and real estate purchases has hardly exceeded 900000 francs. During WW2 it was used to house prisoners, all Communists or sympathizers, prisoners do not have much to do. Once the household chores in their rooms are done, they spend their days doing the hundred steps in the ‘Garden ‘. Sometimes they play football, after a month, families get the right to visit them. Doctor Neuillé Pont Pierre made regular visits to the camp. Captain Gendreau complains to the prefect as his men, normally responsible for monitoring detainees must increasingly carry meals and wood for inmates. It calls for the presence of a civilian Manager to deal with. After the arrival of the last group of prisoners, the camp was closed on July 1, 1941. Following a request, the warden allowed to create in the orphanage, a summer camp for young girls during the summer, in July 1941, 500 children’s summer holidays.
After WW2 welcomed CREPS training courses, to train teachers of physical education. During this period was built the swimming pool located near the pond. But soon, the site was abandoned. Thus wild grasses have already invaded the orphanage when, in 1952, the towers hospital settled a Geriatrics service: le service Bourassins. It hosted up to 220 people. prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease at a time where it was not called this disease, was 80%. Many patients were part of Psychiatry patients. Suicides were common.
Dr. Sylvain Douard recalls having accompanied his father, on a emergency, to try to rescue a patient who was hanging from the skylight. The doctor, very shocked by this event always spoke with emotion. Patients also drowned in the pond. You have surely noticed that we speak only of “patients”. Indeed, it was reserved for women. Nevertheless, 24 men resided in the retirement home. It was psychiatric patients who in addition to their treatment, helped with the maintenance work.
Often considered a “Deathtrap”, It was a place of life At the end of the 1980s, the building, aging, had to undergo a complete reset of standards. At that time, a new home for the elderly (structures not exceeding 80 persons, single rooms) so a quote of work worth 1-millions francs prompted the CHR, supported by the elect, to abandon the site. Today, Mr Martineau, former Mayor of Beaumont le Ronce, is owner of the site. he restores much of surrounding habitats for rental purposes, the large building of the orphanage remain at present abandoned.