St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter, Devon

In November 1902, the Waifs and Strays Society opened its St Lawrence's Home for Girls at 49 Polsloe Road, Exeter.

St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter, 1902. © Peter Higginbotham

The home had previously been located as Bartholomew Street East where it had been known as St Olave's. The larger premises at Polsloe Road were provided rent-free by the Rev. A. Everett as a memorial to his father, the late Rector of St Lawrence. Much of the home's furniture was also included with the gift. The dedication of the home by the Bishop of Exeter was scheduled to take place on February 2nd but at the least moment was 'postponed indefinitely'. St Lawrence's could accommodate 30 girls, aged from 6 upwards.

St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter, 1903. © Peter Higginbotham

St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter, 1903. © Peter Higginbotham

In common with many of the Society's other homes, small parties from St Lawrence's were despatched to begin new lives in Canada. A contingent making the crossing in 1912 is shown in the picture below.

Emigrants from St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter, 1912. © Peter Higginbotham

St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter, c.1921. © Peter Higginbotham

St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter, c.1928. © Peter Higginbotham

St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter, c.1931. © Peter Higginbotham

St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1941, the home was evacuated to Ruffold House on Coly Road, Colyton, Devon. Following the Second World War, the Polsloe Road premises re-opened under the name of St Lawrence's Reception and Intermediate Home. It finally closed in 1956.

The property has now been converted to flats.

Former St Lawrence's Home for Girls, Exeter.

Records

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.

Bibliography