Springbok House, Great Baddow, near Chelmsford, Essex
During the Second World War, the Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association (SSAFA), founded in 1885 to support British servicemen and ex-servicemen, opened a number of short-stay children's homes. The first of these, at Heswall, was set up in the wake of the heavy bombing of Liverpool in 1941.
The work continued after the war, and in 1950 the Association opened a new home at Springbok House, Heycroft Way, Vicarage Lane, Great Baddow, near Chelmsford. The property, formerly a private residence in spacious grounds, had been a hostel for Wrens during the Second World War. In 1948, the residence and grounds were bought by the people of South Africa and presented by them to SSAFA, 'as a slight token of our admiration for Great Britain's glorious war effort for freedom and liberty.' The home was officially opened on November 4th, 1950, by the Marchioness of Carisbrooke. Up to thirty children could be accommodated, most staying just while their mothers were in hospital.
Modern flats now occupy the site.
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.
- SSAFA, 4 St Dunstan's Hill, London EC3R 8AD. It is understood that no records survive relating to individuals who stayed at the home.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.