HALF MOON PRESS
The sun sets, gloriously, every night, over a tiny
corner of the British Empire in Ossining.
Perched on a hill on a suburban street, with panoramic views
of the Hudson River,
the majestic Victoria Home, supported by the Daughters of the British Empire
(D.B.E.), preserves the dignity of an earlier age while caring for the health
care needs of 49 residents.
Where else in the Historic River Towns of Westchester may one be served tea in
delicate individual Royal Doulton cups and saucers, accompanied by authentic
cucumber, rolled watercress, or salmon (paste, of course) sandwiches and completed
by the riches Napoleon pastry in years? This, in a graciously appointed dining
room with an enormous carved fireplace and welcoming window seats, bathed in
the spring sunshine, All watched over by portraits
of Queen Elizabeth, Prince
Philip, the Queen Mother, George VI,
a forbidding Queen Mary, and Princess Diana
and her sons.
At least, that was how the local chapter of the D.B.E. welcomed visiting chapters
on one of those magnificent afternoons in May. Women originally from England,
Canada, a couple of New Zealand and one or two Australians toured the facility
and then settled down
to “high tea” with Victoria Home’s administrators.
Many were wearing the distinctive insignia of the National Society, Daughters
of the British Empire in the United States of America. It incorporates the three
crosses of the Union Jack, surmounted by a crown signifying sovereignty.
The D.B.E. was founded in 1909 by Mrs. Elliot Langstaff who was born on April
14, 1849 in St. Catherine’s Canada. She grew up in New Jersey, and after
her marriage, settled in Brooklyn. Mrs. Langstaff was inspired by the Canadian
Imperial Order Daughters
of the Empire to form the American organization.
It is a non-profit, non-political organization and membership is extended, by
invitation, to women with proven British or British Commonwealth birth, naturalized
British or British Commonwealth subjects, and to the wives of British of British
Commonwealth born men.
The main object of the D.B.E. is the support of the district homes for retired
men and women with regular contributions and fundraising events. The original
intent, to care for retired British nannies and servants has expanded to include
all. As many members as possible have personal contact with their district home
and its residents and help with activities and entertainment. A bonus for members
is the network which is a source of close and long term friendships.
The first home was opened on Staten Island in 1915. By 1925, a larger home was
needed and funds were raised to purchase the McAlpin estate in Ossining, and
relocate the Victoria Home. The house was remodeled to accommodate 25 residents
and officially opened in 1928. Three years later, a new wing, to accommodate
43 more residents was added, with an infirmary.
Constant adaptations to code changes, including the current installation of a
new fire detection system, have not significantly changed the layout of the “new” wing,
with its individual rooms personally decorated by the residents. Service includes
and diagnostic treatment, dental, physical therapy, a full service dining
room, therapeutic recreation, social service, a beauty salon, and access to a
lovely landscaped garden.
There are three other retirement and nursing homes supported by the Daughters
of the British Empire. The Midwestern district home
is in Brookfield, Illinois;
in the Western district the home is in Sierra Made, California and in the Southern
District, Mountbatten House
is located in Highlands, Texas, Each home has individual
characteristics and are all supported by the D.B.E.
Over 5,000 Members throughout the United States support the
D.B.E. motto, “Not
Ourselves, But The Cause.”
Week of August 22 – 28,
Red, white and blue bunting and balloons with
the Jubilee Logo, imported from England, greeted
residents and guests as they arrived on June
1 to attend a tea party at Victoria Home in Ossining
celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II.
Over the living room sofa hung a poster, arranged
by Helen Ceru, Regent of Hudson River Chapter
D.B.E., showing photographs of Queen Elizabeth
II from childhood
to the present. The decorating committee headed by Jennifer Wilensky, Hudson
blew up fifty balloons, put up yards of bunting and decorated
the various rooms with vases of red, white and blue flowers.
After a scrumptious tea of sandwiches and sweets provided by the King Edward
VII Chapter, D.B.E., glasses were raised and toasts
to the President and the
Queen were offered. Then residents and guests were entertained by the “Hudson
Bells” and led the guests
in singing traditional British and American tunes
ending with a spirited rendition of “God save the Queen.” A record
number of residents attended the event and a good time was had by all.
Victoria Home is a 49-bed non-profit skilled nursing facility, which admits all
residents regardless of their national origin, race or creed.
The Daughters of the British Empire (D.B.E.) founded in the United States in
1909 is a charitable non-political, non-sectarian American society of women of
British and Commonwealth birth ancestry. Their primary purpose is to provide
financial support to the four homes for the elderly established by the D.B.E.
in the U.S., one of which is Victoria Home, Ossining.
The Journal News
August 2, 2002
Group celebrates connection to British royalty
The festivities for Queen Elizabeth II’s
Golden Jubilee may officially be over, but an
exhibit created in celebration of the milestone
continues in Ossining.
“British Royalty” Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II – The
Ossining Connection” is a compact display at the Ossining Public Library
bursting with all sorts of memorabilia. The Daughters of the British Empire Hudson
River Chapter and the Victoria Home in Ossining, a Daughters-sponsored nursing
facility, have lent miniature carriages, official programs, vases, letters and
accessories that reflect royalty and royal events through the years.
There are many highlights, but of particular note - and a quirky keepsake – is
the delicate teacup-and-saucer set used by the
Queen Mother when she visited
the Victoria Home in 1954.
The exhibit continues through Aug. 30, during
regular library hours. Admission
The library is at 53 Croton Ave. Call 914-941-2416.
The Journal News
August 2, 2002
The Ossining Public library is displaying an exhibit
the Victoria Home in Ossining and the
Hudson River Chapter of the Daughters of the British
Empire. The exhibit, British Royalty Queen Victoria
to Queen Elizabeth II,” is on view in the
main lobby through Aug. 30. Among the memorabilia
related to Queen Victoria are items of clothing,
a bust, notepaper, a handbag, coins, miniature
coronation thrones and a coronation carriage, a
tea cup and celebratory plates.
Sunday, April 28, 2002
Cochran celebrates 100 years
Ossining, NY -Phyllis Cochran, resident of Victoria
Ossining, celebrated her 100th birthday
March 24. She was honored with two parties.
The first, on her birthday, was given by
home’s residents and staff. The second,
a luncheon party, was given March 27 by the
Board of Directors. It was attended by her
niece, Hanna Mae Karpennick, and a friend,
Ann Karpennick, as
well as members of the Daughters
of the British Empire Chapters from New York
and Pennsylvania. Cochran received 100 long
stemmed roses. She also received a congratulatory
Gov. Pataki. Cochran was born in
Rockland County. Prior to entering Victoria
Home in 1991, she was a home-maker who made
all her own clothes and enjoyed crocheting.
Would you like to enjoy afternoon
tea overlooking the Hudson River? Click
Here to contact us to schedule
a visit and see why our residents call