Leamington Home for Girls / St Anne's Home, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
The Leamington Home for Girls was founded in 1880 by the Honourable Mrs Leigh, widow of the late Dean of Hereford. The institution, also known as the Worcester Diocesan Home for Girls, first occupied premises were at 30 Clarendon Avenue, Leamington Spa. On 12th February, 1883, the home was accredited as a Certified School, allowing to receive girls boarded out by the workhouse authorities and train them for domestic service.
In 1884, the running of the home was taken over by the Waifs and Strays Society. The home then housed 16 girls aged from 6 to 16.
On 30 July 1891, the Society's first ever 'Pound Day' was held at the Leamington home. Local supporters of the home were invited to donate 'a pound of something', either a pound in cash or a pound weight of foodstuffs or other goods such as rice, sugar, tea, soap etc. Pound Days soon became an annual feature at the Society's homes.
In 1893, the home moved to a new location at 4 Portland Place, Leamington Spa. The new premises were formally opened on October 11th with the Rev. W.C. Furneaux performing a ceremony of dedication. The home was for many years formally known as the Worcester Diocesan Training Home for Girls, although by 1917 had begun to be referred to as St Anne's Home.
The Portland Place house was much more spacious than the one at Clarendon Avenue and could accommodate 25 girls. There was a gravel playground at the rear of the house.
In 1923, the St Anne's home moved to yet larger premises at 6 Warwick New Road, Leamington Spa, where up to girls could be housed.
The home remained a girls-only establishment up until 1947 but then, in line with many other children's homes at the time, became mixed.
The home was closed sometime in the 1970s. The property is now a private residence.
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.