Liverpool Council Homes

In 1930, the Boards of Guardians, who had administered the poor relief system in England and Wales since 1834, were abolished and their responsibilities were taken over by county and county borough councils. Each council set up a Public Assistance Committee to oversee its new duties, which included the operation of the various children's establishments previously run by the poor law unions in each area. The Liverpool Council's Public Assistance Committee took over the West Derby Union's Fazakerley Cottage Homes, where almost 600 children could be accommodated, part of the Olive Mount Cottage Homes site at Wavertree, which was used as a receiving home for 50 children, and the Working Boys' Home at 101 Shaw Street. By 1947, a hostel for girls from the Fazakerley cottage homes had been opened on Longmoor Lane.

Former Fazakerley Cottage Homes, 2001. © Peter Higginbotham

Following the passing of the 1948 Children Act, councils were required to provide care services for all needy children in their area, especially those who lacked a normal family home. In common with other local authorities, the council established a new Children's Committee, whose responsibilities had previously been spread across separate Health, Education and Public Assistance Committees. The Committee took over responsibility for:

  • Fazakerley Cottage Homes, Longmoor Lane, Fazakerley
  • The Olive Mount Cottage Homes, Old Mill Lane, Liverpool
  • Boys' Home, 101 Shaw Street, Liverpool
  • Springcroft Babies' Home, Aigburth Hall Avenue, Aigburth
  • Woolton Vale Remand Home for Boys, 239 Menlove Avenue, Woolton
  • Remand Home for Girls, Derwent Road, Stoneycroft
  • Greystone Heath Approved School, Stocks Lane, Sankey, Warrington

By 1952, a new home had been opened at 30 Parkfield Road, Liverpool. Further additions by 1954 comprised the New Heys Nursery, at 470 Allerton Road, Allerton; the Fulwood Park Nursery, at 5 Fulwood Park; the Fernlea Girls' Hostel, at Quarry Street, Woolton; the Westfield Boys' Hostel, on Greenbank Lane, Sefton; and a new home at 77 Park View Road, Croxteth.

The 1948 Act had recommended that where children needed to be in residential care, they should be in 'family group' homes, which ideally accommodated no more than eight children, or twelve at most. The Park View Road home — a mixed 'family group' home marked the council's first move in this direction. In 1955, it had been followed by seven more, mostly located on new council housing estates around the city. They were at 19/21 Back Gillmoss Lane, Croxteth; 1/3 Clieves Road, Kirkby; 36 Heaton Close; 30/32 Minver Road; 20 Rathmore Avenue; 6 Regal Road, Croxteth; and 31 Ternhall Road, Sparrow Hall Estate. Further new home open by 1956 were at 42 Alder Road, Stoneycroft; 4 Livingston Drive; 27 Melling Road; Sunny Oak, Hughendon Road; 2 Warnerville Road; and 12 Greenhill Avenue. In 1958, the list was joined by 35/37 Lydbury Crescent, Kirkby, and in 1959 by 41 Balmoral Road, 5 Dewey Avenue, and 81 Queen's Drive.

The council's stock of children's residential establishments remained fairly static during the 1960s, with just a few openings and closures. Its accommodation in 1972 is listed below:

LocationPlaces
Children's Admission Unit, Acrefield Road55
New Heys Reception Centre, 470 Allerton Road, Allerton30
Fulwood Park Residential Nursery, 5 Fulwood Park24
Springcroft Children's Home, Aigburth Hall Avenue, Aigburth20
Parkfield Children's Home, 30 Parkfield Road20
4 Livingston Drive South20
Mossfield Children's Home, Thingwall/Childwall Road20
Westfield Training Centre, Greenbank Lane, Sefton30
Fernlea Children's Home, Quarry Street12
77 Park View Road, Croxteth 
19/21 Back Gillmoss Lane, Croxteth 
30/32 Minver Road 
9 Rathmore Avenue 
20 Rathmore Avenue 
31 Ternhall Road, Sparrow Hall Estate 
42 Alder Road, Stoneycroft 
Sunny Oak, Hughendon Road 
2 Warnerville Road 
6 Regal Road 
12 Greenhill Avenue 
41 Balmoral Road 
81 Queen's Drive 
5 Dewey Avenue 
Briars Hey, Mill Lane, Rainhill 
Fernlea, Quarry Street 
22 Coronation Drive 
Mossfield, Thingwall/Childwall Road 
Woolton Vale Remand Home for Boys, 239 Menlove Avenue, Woolton55
Remand/Classifying Centre for Girls, 61 Derwent Road, Stoneycroft30
Greystone Heath Approved School, Stocks Lane, Sankey, Warrington104

The 1970s saw a slight contraction in the accommodation stock, including the closure of longstanding homes such as those on Back Gillmoss Lane and Minver Road. The council's children's establishments in 1983 comprised:

LocationPlaces
Children's Admission Unit, Livingston Drive55
New Heys Assessment Centre, 470 Allerton Road, Allerton30
Springcroft Children's Home, Aigburth Hall Avenue, Aigburth20
Parkfield Children's Home, 30 Parkfield Road20
4 Livingston Drive South20
Mossfield Children's Home, Thingwall/Childwall Road20
77 Park View Road, Croxteth 
9 Rathmore Avenue 
42 Alder Road, Stoneycroft 
Sunny Oak, Hughendon Road 
2 Warnerville Road 
12 Greenhill Avenue 
81 Queen's Drive 
5 Dewey Avenue 
Fernlea, Quarry Street 
22 Coronation Drive 
Sydney House, 9 Linnet Lane 
Mossfield, Thingwall/Childwall Road 
St Christopher Home for Girls, 7 Chesterfield Road 
Boaler Assessment Centre, Higher Lane 
Derwent House for Girls, 61 Derwent Road, Stoneycroft30
Greystone Heath School, Stocks Lane, Sankey, Warrington104

Composite list of children's establishments run (at some time in their history) by Liverpool Council.

Cheshire

Lancashire

* indicates link to pages on www.workhouses.org.uk.

Records

The involvement of local authorities in the running of children's homes dates from 1930, when they took over the running of the poor relief system previously administered by Boards of Guardians. Surviving records for council-run children's homes may be held in each council's own internal archives. Prior to 1991, however, when a legal requirement was introduced for councils to retain records of children leaving their care, the survival of such records is very variable. Contact details for local authorities in the UK can be found on the website of the Care Leavers Association (CLA). The CLA also provides guidance on accessing childhood care files, which are normally only open to the individuals they relate to.

Locating local authority records has been complicated by the various local government reorganizations that have taken place in recent times, such as the abolition of the London County Council in 1965, and the major nationwide restructuring in 1974 in which many administrative areas were created, amended or eliminated.

Older records may sometimes be placed with the relevant county or borough record office. Many of these repositories have online catalogues of their holdings and also contribute to the National Archives' Discovery database. Note that records containing personal data usually have access closed for a period of fifty years or more.

Older material relating to Liverpool Council homes may exist at:

Some records relating to council-run homes, for example inspection reports (though not resident lists etc.), are held by The National Archives (TNA). A closure period may apply to these records.

Bibliography