In 1909 the two adjoining acres towards the east were bought complete with two cottages. The one became The French Cottage and the other is now known as The Old Engine House.
The Old Engine House was originally the pump house supplying water to Sir Percy Fitzpatrick’s house way up the hill! As a condition of the sale, there was an agreement to let Sir Percy continue using it – which he did until some years later when the well ran dry.
It was also the electricity station for Parktown. The north room was filled with old electric batteries and the garage was used as a stable. Over time, this room has been used as a laboratory and as a bedroom for Theresa Lawrence. In 1921, the Old Engine House was converted into a cosy and efficient Sanatorium at a cost of £567, and, for the first time, a Sanatorium Matron was engaged. The building, which once served as a laundry, is now the school’s workshop.
In 1913, The French Cottage, a familiar and homely sight to all Roedean girls past and present, was used as a dormitory, and, from 1927-1929, six girls and two members of staff, rotating each term, used it as a means of bettering their French. It was a great honour to be chosen to stay there. However, in January, 1932, it was decided that The French Cottage would no longer be used after the end of that term.
There would, nevertheless, be plenty of opportunity of speaking French, and, perhaps, less opportunity of speaking careless French which, with all the care in the world, was a temptation during ‘off-times’ in the cottage. No one would now live in the cottage, but it would be used for music lessons. Bithiah Buckle writes: “1950 saw the transformation during the winter term of the long disused French Cottage into a charming small house for Mr and Mrs Shaw – Mr Shaw was the school driver.”
The French Cottage then became home to a succession of Groundsmen and is now occupied by the Facilities Manager.