During the second world war many Londoners were bombed out of their Homes and Quakers provided temporary housing, but when the war ended they sought permanent homes. A young man, Bill Sessions, found that some alms-houses in Polegate were for sale and persuaded the Quakers that they should try to buy them, but the price was too high.
Bill asked everyone that he could think of for loans, including the unlikely Bernhard Baron Trust, a charity set up by a Jewish cigarette manufacturer. The Trust did not agree to a loan, but instead offered a very large donation as a gift, on condition that the Homes were named after Bernhard Baron.
On July 2nd 1945 three Quakers visited the cottages to see what work was necessary, and on 6th July a working party arrived to take up residence in cottage 12, adapting the cottages and repairing the damage left by the army which had occupied them. Hailsham Rural District Council tried unsuccessfully to requisition the cottages for local residents.
On 21st July 12 trustees were appointed, mostly from the London area from which the first residents came. The purchase was completed on 28th September, and on October 15th the first ten residents moved in. In subsequent years the main building was erected and new wings were added later, funded by the sale of the land just outside of the present Millennium Path, more money from the Bernhard Baron Trust, and donations from Quaker and other funds.