GALLERY
PAGE 179

 

Maurice Billingsley's second page of photos.

He writes(20th August 2004) :


"Here are 7 pictures of Gap, just to please Robbie Dempsey, Peter Hurrell and myself —
and to show the poor Dorkingites what they missed by not persuading the powers that were to let them learn French asap.

. . . . Gap, in the Haute Alpes, was the site of the first Francophone International Spiritual Year ; the building had been built in the twenties for a diocesan seminary. It was never full and soon closed, so I guess that the White fathers got it on a lease.

After one year, the Spiritual Year moved on to Fribourg to be near the university. Robbie Dempsey and I helped with the move in July 1970. Fribourg was the swiss Provincialate as well. I know that our successors made good use of that city.

. . . . An old lady came up to speak to me in one of the squares. She remembered us, and said that one man came back year after year (or in my case, 30 years after 30 years!)."

The letters that the young Maurice wrote from Gap to his parents and brother in 1969 - 70 are reproduced on another page. If you would like to read them, click here.





(Source and commentary : Maurice Billingsley)

"The courtyard with an ambulance loading at what was our main door. The fourth side of the cloister, which had no building against it, has been demolished to allow access. The hospital provides long-term geriatric care, renal dialysis and a school of nursing. The fountain is dry, but otherwise the place is well maintained. A nurse chatted to Harry and me, and told us that the chapel is out of use and left empty. I think the parish may use the providence Convent chapel now, as the diocesan offices seem to be there. "

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(Source and commentary : Maurice Billingsley)

"This is a view from the old driveway — the flats were the estate where the parisioners, largely young people, came from. (That is not Box Hill at the back)."

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(Source and commentary : Maurice Billingsley)

"This shows Harry Billingsley at the old, disused front gate. The side entrance we used has gone, I think. A new road allows ambulance access to the courtyard."

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(Source and commentary : Maurice Billingsley)

"A street in the old town."

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(Source and commentary : Maurice Billingsley)

"A view of the building from the new roundabout. Note the water feature — only one of the three waterfalls in action."

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(Source and commentary : Maurice Billingsley)

"This gives a hint of how the town is now prospering — new paint, new shops from new money."

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(Source and commentary : Maurice Billingsley)

"Harry is on the old bridge, which was part of the highway from France to Italy, once crossed by St Francis, also by Louis the something."

(And Monet used to sit just HERE).


SEE ALSO PAGE 130 for Robbie Dempsey's photos of Gap from 1969-70