Nazareth House, Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex

A Nazareth House was erected in 1893-4 on Wrestwood Road, Bexhill-on-Sea. The building was designed by Leonard Stokes who also designed a wing of the Hammersmith Nazareth House. Construction was carried out by local builder Peter Jenkins at a cost of around £7,000.

Architect's design for Nazareth House, Bexhill, 1894.

As was usual with Nazareth Houses, the Bexhill establishment provided accommodation for the aged poor and for orphan and destitute children, primarily Roman Catholic girls. The home was also certified to receive children placed out by the Boards of Guardians who operated the poor relief and workhouse system. In 1912, the home could house up to 150 children.

Bexhill Nazareth House, early 1900s. © Peter Higginbotham

In August 1953, two of the girls, Frances McCarthy aged 10, and Janet Patricia Dover aged 11, were drowned after being engulfed by a heavy wave while bathing at Glyne Gap, about a mile from the home. There had been more than sixty girls in the bathing party but only four or five had been good swimmers. An inquest heard that although the rocks at the location made it treacherous, there had only been three adults in charge, something which amounted to a lack of proper supervision. A verdict of 'Accidental Death' was recorded on the two girls.

Part of the premises were later occupied by St Mary Magdalen's RC Primary School, now moved to a modern building of its own further to the east.

The Nazareth House buildings have now all been converted to residential use.


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

  • Sisters of Nazareth Archive, Sisters of Nazareth Archive, Nazareth House, 169-175 Hammersmith Road, London W6 8DB. The archivist is Christine Hughes. The archive contains material from the very beginnings of the order in the 1850s up until the present day. The archive is not open to the public and does not have facilities for personal searchers, although exceptions can be made for Sisters and for academic researchers. Enquiries are welcomed by post only for privacy and confidentiality reasons and replies are by also letter. There is no fee for dealing with enquiries, although donations to the Sisters are appreciated.