Do you remember Colette Brosse ?

Colette Brosse was an au-pair from France who studied and worked at the Battle of Britain House for slightly over a year between 1964 and 1965. She made really good friends during her stay in Ruislip, and had the fondest memories of the mansion.

Her photo above is from the mid to late sixties, maybe shortly after her “life-changing” year at Ruislip – as described in her own words. She is known to have befriended a couple, Gordon and Zoë Long, who became life-long friends, and used to live in Ruislip a long time ago. The Longs were involved in the Chartist revival movement, and they later moved to Dodford (near Bromsgrove, Birmingham) where they were involved in a campaign that resulted in the acquisition of Rosedene, one of the original Chartist cottages, by the National Trust.

Colette Brosse and her family in Ruislip
Colette Brosse and her family, possibly in Ruislip’s Battle of Britain House

Colette Brosse returned to England later in life, this time married, with two wonderful children. Her daughter Sylvie Kleiman-Lafon (the girl on the left in the photo above), recalls how they spent two lovely summers visiting Gordon and Zoë Long at Bromsgrove. Gordon was a retired engineer who had worked on plane engines for Rolls Royce (or so), and she was a retired arts teacher at the time. Sylvie also recalls visiting the Battle of Britain House at least once, and thinks that this family photo is from that visit (although not 100% certain).

Colette Brosse

Looking for information

Colette sadly passed away in 2018. Her daughter Sylvie lives in France, and is very keen for information about her mother’s stay in Ruislip. Do you remember Colette? Can you confirm whether the “garden” photo above was indeed taken at Rusilip, perhaps somewhere in the grounds of the Battle of Britain House ? If you have a memory of the events, locations, or persons mentioned above, or have been associated with Colette Brosse in any way during her time in Ruislip between 1964 and 1965, please do get in touch via email at or using the form below :