Ravenswood, Crowthorne, Berkshire
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 1946, the Association opened a short-stay home for children at Ravenswood, a large country house near Crowthorne, Berkshire, previously used as a private school for girls and small boys. The home was officially opened on 25th June, 1946, by Hilda, Duchess of Richmond and Gordon. Ravenswood was the first new home to be purchased by SSAFA since the end of the war, and was the first step in the Association's policy of expanding its accommodation for the children of serving and ex-Service men and women during periods of domestic crisis when, for some reason, their parents were unable to care for them themselves.
In 1953, the Ravenswood estate was taken over by four families aiming to provide education and care for their children and for others with a learning disability. Today, Ravenswood Village, as it is now known, is home to 130 people with learning disabilities. The original Ravenswood house no longer stands.
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.