St Francis' Receiving Home, Clapham Park, Balham, London

The St Francis' Receiving Home was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1930 at 86 King's Avenue, Clapham Park, Balham. Its official opening took place in June of that year, with the Bishop of Kingston conducting a service of dedication in a marquee in the garden of the home. St Francis' acted as a receiving home for children coming into the Society's care for the first time. They were temporarily housed at the home until being placed into adoption or transferred to one of the Society's branch homes. St Francis' could accommodate 25 children aged from 3 to 7 years.

St Francis's Receiving Home, Balham, c.1930. © Peter Higginbotham

St Francis's Receiving Home, Balham, c.1934. © Peter Higginbotham

In around 1937, the home became known as the Blanche Wimbridge Home.

At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the home was first evacuated to Steyning in Sussex, and then to Rustington.

After the war, the home returned to Clapham Park but was closed in about 1950. The building no longer exists.

Records

Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.

Bibliography

  • Bowder, Bill Children First: a photo-history of England's children in need (1980, Mowbray)
  • Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society [Rudolfe, Edward de Montjoie] The First Forty Years: a chronicle of the Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society 1881-1920 (1922, Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society / S.P.C.K.)
  • Rudolf, Mildred de Montjoie Everybody's Children: the story of the Church of England Children's Society 1921-1948 (1950, OUP)
  • Stroud, John Thirteen Penny Stamps: the story of the Church of England Children's Society (Waifs and Strays) from 1881 to the 1970s (1971, Hodder and Stoughton)
  • Morris, Lester The Violets Are Mine: Tales of an Unwanted Orphan (2011, Xlibris Corporation) — memoir of a boy growing up in several of the Society's homes (Princes Risborough, Ashdon, Hunstanton, Leicester) in the 1940s and 50s.