St Christopher's Home for Babies, Burley, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire
The St Christopher's Home for Babies was opened as a Diocesan Home for Babies in around 1917 at St Ann's Lane, Burley, Leeds. On July 1st, 1928, the Waifs and Strays Society took over management of the home which appears to have been struggling to stay open. An official re-opening by Princess Mary Viscount Lascelles took place on August 24th, with the Archdeacon of Pontefract conducting a ceremony of dedication. On a tour of the building the Princess enquired why some of the children were kept in cots. She was told that it was because they were being treated for rickets.
Under its new management, St Christopher's provided 30 places for motherless, homeless or illegitimate children aged from 1 month to 2 years.
In 1929, the building, which already had its own laundry block, had new bathrooms fitted. In the same year, the home installed a specially designed "violet ray" lamp for gently bathing babies in ultra-violet rays and radiant heat.
In 1934, the generally poor condition of the building and the imminent end of its lease led to the closure of the home and the transfer of the residents to the Beckett Home for Babies a few miles away at Meanwood.
The property was later used as a YWCA hostel. It is now used as student accommodation.
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.