St Aldhelm's Home for Boys, Frome, Somerset
St Aldhelm's Home for Boys, at Frome, was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in around 1894 as a replacement for the Sunnyside Home in Frome. The new home was formally dedicated on October 4th, 1898, by the Bishop of Bath. St Aldhelm's could accommodate up to 45 boys aged from 8 to 14. The new building also incorporated a self-contained Printing Department, continuing the work that had begun at Sunnyside.
During the First World War, the home was taken over for a time as a military hospital and the children transferred to other homes.
As at other boys' home, St Aldhelm's was active in the Boy Scouts movement and had its own Scout band.
Boys as the home helped with the household chores. At mealtimes, preparing the pudding course was a particularly popular job.
At Christmas, the boys would stage their own shows such as 'Aladdin' in 1925.
Summer holidays usually included a visit to the seaside such as a trip to Weymouth in 1924.
St Aldhelm's closed in 1951, although the Printing Works continued in operation until 1962.
The surviving Oakfield Road buildings have now been converted to flats.
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.