St Pelagia's Home, Leyton, London
In 1907, the St Pelagia's Magdalen Home for 'fallen' girls and women at Limehouse moved to new premises at Etloe House, 180 Church Road, Leyton — the property had once been Cardinal Wiseman's country residence. The home could accommodate 80 inmates, who were expected to remain there for at least two years. No charge was made for the accommodation — the residents earned their keep through the work they performed, primarily in the laundry.
On 2 February 1910, in a separate part of the premises, a Home for Roman Catholic Feeble-minded Girls was accredited to begin operation as a Certified School, enabling it to receive up to inmates, aged 16 or over, boarded out by the workhouse authorities. This section of the establishment was subsequently licensed as a Certified Institution under the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act.
The Magdalen department of Etloe House ceased operation in the 1920s but it continued to accommodate mentally handicapped females until the 1970s.
The building has now been converted to sheltered accommodation for the elderly.
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.
- The Sisters of The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Chigwell Convent, 803 Chigwell Road, Woodford Bridge, Essex IG8 8AU.
- London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. (The Ancestry website also has LMA records relating to workhouses and other institutions — more details.) Has some correspondence and papers relating to the St Pelagia's Homes (ref: A/FWA/C/D/245/001)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- None identified at present.
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