St Luke's Reception Centre, Clapham Park, Balham, London
The St Luke's Reception Centre was opened by the Children's Society (formerly the Waifs and Strays Society) in 1949 at 14-18 Thornton Road, Clapham Park, Balham. The premises had previously been occupied by the Rudolf Memorial Home for Boys.
The location of the home is shown on the 1954 map below.
St Luke's provided temporary accommodation, usually just a few weeks, for up to twenty children of a wide range of ages. The children staying at the home included those coming into the care of the Society for the first time, those whose fostering arrangements had broken down, and those from one of the branch homes who were in need of some specialised form of help. In the mid-1960s, the home started to reserve half its places for children needing longer term help.
In 1973, the home began stop offer therapeutic care for emotionally disturbed children. It provided educational, psychiatric, and social work support, with the aim of eventually placing such children suitable long-term foster homes. In June 1976, difficulties in recruiting adequate staff for the scheme led to its relocation to Caerleon and other homes. St Luke's was then re-opened providing residential and day-care facilities.
The St Luke's building no longer exists.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by surname.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by date of birth.
- The Children's Society Records and Archive Centre is at Block A Floor 2, Tower Bridge Business Complex, 100 Clement's Road, London, England SE16 4DG (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Files for children admitted to its homes after September 1926 were microfilmed in the 1980s and the originals destroyed. Some post-1926 files had already been damaged or destroyed during a flood. The Society's Post-Adoption and Care Service provides access to records, information, advice, birth record counselling, tracing and intermediary service for people who were in care or adopted through the Society.
- The Society has produced detailed catalogues of its records relating to disabled children, and of records relating to the Children's Union (a fundraising body mostly supported from the contributions of children).
- 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.)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- 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.
- 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)
- Hidden Lives Revealed — the story of the children who were in the care of The Children's Society in late Victorian and early 20th Century Britain.
- The Children's Society
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.