Central House of Railway Employees’ Children

Director: Mimidlaeva Svetlana Ivanovna

7(495) 262-47-54

107078, Moscow, 14 Novaya Basmannaya street, bldg. 1

The public educational institution for further education “Central House of Railway Employees’ Children”
Educational institution’s registration certificate #5030-2 of 15 March, 1996, issued by the Moscow City Government, Department of Public and Regional Relations, Non-Profit Organisations Registration Section.  


The House was founded by the Regulation of the USSR Council of People’s Commissars #041-35 of 26 April, 1941, and the USSR Ministry of Railways Executive Order # 205/4 of 22 August, 1940. Opened on 1 November, 1940. Acts on the basis of its Charter. The main objective of the Central House of Railway Employees’ Children is to promote children’s learning and creativity; provide them opportunities for further education, for their own interests as well as those of the society and the country; contribute to personal development, improved health, career orientation and creative work of children aged between 6-18; contribute to their smooth integration into the society, development of general culture, and meaningful spare time activities.

The CHREC is not just another institution controlled by the Federal Agency for Railway Transport; it’s an architectural monument, and part of our historic heritage. The CHREC building was designed by the architect M. Bugrovsky at the end of the 19th century (1898-1899) for the merchant Nikolai Stakheyev – a big-time trader, owner of goldmines and nephew of the great painter Ivan Shishkin. Nikolai Stakheyev was a descendant of Yelabuga merchant family; he traded in wheat, tea, timber, owned gold mines and oil fields, and, thanks to his unique commercial talents, increased the inherited capital eightfold. After that he started buying old mansions in the best parts of the town and erecting multi-storey buildings – which increased his profits even further. He bought a large plot of land in the Novaya Basmannaya street in the 1890s. Previously, it had a big estate with a number of buildings including the manor and a side wing in the yard. These were demolished, and in their place M. Bugrovsky built a veritable palace. The project cost the merchant Stakheyev one million roubles. It’s one of the brightest and best-preserved examples of the late 19th century eclectic architecture.

The house is remarkable in that it gives one an idea of how Moscow looked at that time, while its interiors is the most valuable work of applied arts: they’re done in Moresque, Gothic, baroque styles using dozens of various kinds of precious timber, stone and marble. The facades and the huge hallway with the white-marble stairway are done in the Grecian style; the main rooms include the “Gothic” dining room, the Moresque smoking room, classic and baroque halls, etc. Also well-preserved are the abundant boiserie, intricately patterned parquet floors, stained-glass windows, marble decorations, moulding. The house’s layout is asymmetrical, and the front porch is located at the side. In the front garden a metal French-made fountain was installed, in the form of a woman holding an electric torch in the raised hand. It’s still there, practically intact. A large and growing fortune gave the merchant a chance to collect paintings; no reliable data exists about Stakheyev’s picture gallery but we know for a fact that he did have paintings by his famous uncle, the landscape painter. Stakheyev was also a philanthropist and a patron of arts. He financed dozens of various establishments – monasteries, churches, chapels, shopping malls, alms-houses, orphanages and even a City Duma, built in Yelabuga (his native town) and other Russian cities and towns. Stakheyev also invested a lot of money into construction of apartment houses.

After the events of 1917 the mansion was nationalised and given to railwaymen. Since 1918 it was owned by the People’s Commissariat for Railway Lines, later on inherited by the Ministry of Railways. At various periods it hosted the Dzerzhinsky Railway Cub, the Transport Workers’ Business Club and even an institution with a mysterious name AUAFWPIT, which has turned out to stand for the All-Union Association for Forest and Wood-Processing Industry for Transport. In 1940 the house was given to the newly created club for railway employees’ children.

In the 65+ years of its history many generations of children grew up there, many of whom became prominent figures – famous actors, artists and painters. The house’s walls remember the young, fifteen years old Oleg Dahl, Svetlana Varguzova, Oleg Basilashvili, Valentina Tolkunova and others. For many thousands of children the Central House of Railway Employees’ Children became a second home whose doors were always open.