Harrow Home for Girls (St Saviour's), Harrow, Middlesex
The Waifs and Strays Society third home, the Harrow Home for Girls, was opened in 1883 by at 'Elmside', Headstone Drive, Harrow, then still quite a rural area. Initially accommodating 17 girls aged from 7 to 12, the house was gradually extended until it could hold 36. On the upper floors were ten bedrooms, two dressing rooms, and a bathroom room and washroom.
A large lawn behind the house provided a good playground. The kitchen garden, which contained some good fruit trees, could supply the home with vegetables for a considerable part of the year.
In 1890, the Society commissioned its architect, Mr Peach, to design larger, purpose-built premises for the home. The foundation stone for the building was laid on December 10th, 1890, by Mrs Creighton, standing in for her husband, the Bishop of London, who was seriously ill.
A lack of funds meant that progress on constructing the building was slow and its formal opening did not take place until July 16th, 1901, when the Bishop of Kensington officiated. The new home, at 47 Harrow View, Harrow, was renamed St Saviour's the following year. The house was three storeys high, including attics, and could house 32 girls aged from 5 to 16. The ground floor included a dining room and kitchen, recreation room and matron's room. On the upper floors, there were three dormitories for the girls, a bedroom each for the matron (Miss Tyte) and assistant matron (Miss Adamson), a sick room and a box room.
On 10th December, 1901, the home was accredited as a Certified School, allowing it to receive girls boarded out by the workhouse authorities.
Despite it being a girls' establishment, some pictures of the home appear to feature boys — perhaps having sisters there.
At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the home was evacuated first to Weedon in Northamptonshire, and then in 1940 to Ware in Hertfordshire, where boys were also housed. Following the war, the Harrow home resumed operation as a girls' home. From 1972 to 1975 it was used a hostel for teenagers, then became a mixed-age residential home until 1980. It subsequently provided residential care for children with learning disabilities, operating in alliance with Harrow Social Services.
The Harrow View building no longer exists and modern flats, named St Saviour's Court, 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.
- 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: email@example.com). 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.