London County Council Homes

The London County Council (LCC), which came into existence in 1889, immediately became involved in the operation of residential facilities for young people, taking over the management of the Middlesex Industrial School for Boys at Feltham and the Surrey Industrial School for Boys at Mayford. There were also LCC-run Industrial Schools for boys at Portslade, near Brighton, opened in 1902, and at Clapham Park (1909); girls' establishments were located at Brixton Hill (1909) and Gisburne House, Watford (1912). Truant Industrial Schools (run by the London School Board until its abolition in 1904) were located at Homerton and Highbury. The Training Ship Shaftesbury alo became the Council's repsonsibility in 1904 but the vessel required extensive repairs and was scrapped the following year.

In 1900, the Council opened its Home for Deaf Children in Homerton, which subsequently became the only such establishment to be certified as an Industrial School. The Home moved to Buckinghamshire in 1921 and became known as Rayners School. Also in 1900, the Council opened the Farmfield Inebriate Reformatory at Horley, Surrey, for young adult with alcohol problems. A Home for Mentally Defective Blind Boys was established in 1904 at Downs Park Road, Hackney Downs, followed by a Home for Mentally Defective Boys at 48-50 Acre Lane, Brixton, in 1906.

The running of the capital's first three remand homes, at 70-74 Pentonville Road, 203-205 Harrow Road, and 36-38 Camberwell Green, was transferred from the Metropolitan Asylums Board to the LCC in 1910. A further Remand Home was added in 1911 at 49 Church Road, Willesden. The Camberwell Green Remand Home was replaced in 1912 by an establishment at Ponton Road, SW8.

In April 1930, the Boards of Guardians that had administered the poor relief system in England and Wales for almost a century, were abolished. In London, their duties and responsibilities were taken over by the LCC, which inherited 23 children's homes and residential schools formerly run by 20 Poor Law authorities. Unusually, these establishments came under the management of the council's Education Committee rather than its new Public Assistance Committee, which was the usual case elsewhere in the country. As part of the transition, all the homes were all given new names.

Old NameNew NameLocationInmates (Oct. 1930)
Islington SchoolsAndover Children's HomesHornsey Road, Islington350
North Surrey District SchoolsAnerley Residential SchoolAnerley Road, Upper Norwood561
West London District SchoolAshford Residential SchoolWoodthorpe Road, Ashford640
Kensington, Chelsea & St Marylebone District SchoolBanstead Residential SchoolFir Tree Road, Banstead656
Lewisham Children's HomeCumberlow Lodge Residential SchoolLancaster Road, South Norwood47
Hampstead Cottage HomeErskine Hill Children's HomeGolders Green26
Kensington, Chelsea & St Marylebone Branch SchoolHammersmith Children's HomeMarlesford Lodge122
Central London District SchoolsHanwell Residential SchoolHanwell650
Shoreditch Cottage HomesHornchurch Children's HomeNear Romford422
Islington Receiving HomeHornsey Rise Children's HomeIslington66
Poplar Training SchoolHutton Residential SchoolHutton, Essex650
Greenwich Children's HomesLamorbey Children's HomeSidcup540
St Pancras SchoolsLeavesden Residential SchoolNear Watford598
Bethnal Green Children's HomesLeytonstone Children's HomeWaltham Forest446
Holborn SchoolsMitcham Children's HomeHigh Street, Mitcham400
Lambeth SchoolNorwood Children's HomeElder Road, West Norwood605
Hackney Children's HomesOngar Residential SchoolHigh Street, Chipping Ongar324
Camberwell Children's HomesPeckham Children's HomeStuart Road, Peckham Rye423
Bermondsey SchoolsShirley Residential SchoolWickham Road, Shirley620
Stepney Jewish HomesStepney Children's Homes (Jewish) 90
Stepney HomesStifford and Grays Children's HomesStifford, Essex317
North Surrey District Wainwright HomeWainwright Children's HomeEastern Esplanade, Broadstairs, Kent31
Metropolitan Asylums Board Training Ship ExmouthTraining Ship ExmouthOff Grays, Essex450

Central London District School, Hanwell, early 1900s. © Peter Higginbotham

Hackney Children's Homes, Ongar, 1913. © Peter Higginbotham

The Public Assistance Committee took over five other establishments for use as receiving homes, providing temporary accommodation for children when they first came into its care. The receiving homes are listed below.

LocationPlaces
Lloyd House, 11 Lloyd Street, WC125
Trenmar House, 12 Trenmar Gardens, NW1035
Henniker House, Parson's Green, SW680
Stamford House, 206A Goldhawk Road, W1265
Earlsfield House, 1 Swaffield Road, SW18101

The period of stay at the receiving homes was usually about two weeks, during which arrangements were made for the transfer of the children to one of the homes managed by the Education Committee.

Earlsfield House Receiving Home. © Peter Higginbotham

A number of the homes were closed in the 1930s. By 1936, the Islington, Cumberlow, Erskine Hill, Marlesford Lodge, Hanwell, Hornsey Rise, Leavesden, Mitcham, Stepney and Stifford homes had all been closed, together with the Lloyd House and Stamford House receiving homes.

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. Under the new regime, residential care was seen as the least desirable option for children in care, but when it was employed, the recommended size of home was eight children, or twelve at most. The council's Children's Department appointed a total of nine Children's Officers across its three administrative districts (Western, North-Eastern and South-Eastern).

The council's children's accommodation in each division in 1959 is detailed below.

WESTERN DISTRICT
Residential NurseriesAccommodationAge range
30 Abercorn Place, NW815¾-5
Annesley House, Queen's Crescent, Portsmouth270-5
Fairmile Hatch, Sandy Lane, Cobham, Surrey39¾-
Nanhurst, Near Cranleigh, Surrey700-7
Oakdale, Holmwood, Surrey400-5
St Margaret's, Leighton Road, NW5700-5
Tudor Lodge, 90 Wimbledon Park Side, SW19360-5
Large School and HomeAccommodationAge range
Beechholme, 1 Fir Tree, Banstead, Surrey4642-15
Small HomesAccommodationAge range
27 Aldrington Road, SW169 boys and girls2-15
Hampton Cottage, Oakdale Nursery, Holwood, Near Dorking, Surrey12 boys and girls2-15
Hazel Cottage, Miles Lane, Cobham, Surrey12 boys and girls2-15
Nelson Cottage, Oakdale Nursery, Holwood, Near Dorking, Surrey12 boys and girls2-15
5 North Drive, SW1618 boys and girls1-15
22 Thrale Road, SW1611 boys and girls2-15
23 Ullathorne Road, SW169 boys and girls2-15
25 Westleigh Avenue, SW1514 boys and girls2-15
Willow Cottage, Miles Lane, Cobham, Surrey12 boys and girls2-15
Family HomesAccommodationAge range
A number of family homes operated at the Boreham Wood Estate, Hertfordshire; Langle Estate, Buckinghamshire; and at Crawley, Sussex.  
Reception Centre and Short Stay HomeAccommodationAge range
Earlsfield House, 1 Swaffield Road, SW18532-15
Special and Receiving HomeAccommodationAge range
94 Oakley Street, SW3122-15

SOUTH EASTERN DISTRICT
Residential NurseriesAccommodationAge range
Gresham Place, Portley Wood Road, Whyteleaf, Surrey250-5
Harecombe Manor, Southview Road, Crowborough, Sussex350-5
Hollyshaw Camden Park, Tunbridge Wells390-5
Ladywell, 82 Ladywell Road, SE131400-5
Oakworth, Tottingworth Park, Heathfield, Sussex572-5
Thornwick, 10 Selwyn Road, Eastbourne220-5
Linden Nursery, The Hollies, Sidcup, Kent180-5
Large Schools and HomesAccommodationAge range
The Hollies, Lamorbey, Sidcup, Kent3352-15
Shirley Oaks, Wickham Road3702-15
Small HomesAccommodationAge range
29 Addiscombe Grove, Croydon, Surrey12 boys and girls5-15
Beech Cottage, Tottingworth Park, Heathfield, Sussex12 boys and girls5-15
2A Polthorne Street, SE18, 5 boys and girls2-15
79 Eastcombe Avenue, SE79 boys and girls5-15
The Elms, 90 Coombe Road, Croydon, Surrey14 boys and girls5-15
93 Herne Hill, Camberwell, SE2418 boys and girls1-15
11 Kemsing Road, SE109 boys and girls5-15
35 Lancaster Road, SE259 boys and girls5-15
35A Lancaster Road, SE259 boys and girls5-15
Liskeard Lodge, 27 Liskeard Gardens, SE322 boys and girls (9 short-stay)1-15
The Pagoda, Aberdeen Terrace, SE320 boys and girls1-15
Pine Cottage, Tottingworth Park, Heathfield, Sussex12 boys and girls5-15
Hadresham, Holbrook Lane, Chislehurst, Kent12 boys and girls5-15
Scathbury, Holbrook Lane, Chislehurst, Kent12 boys and girls5-15
Family HomesAccommodationAge range
A number of family homes operated at the St Paul's Cray estate in Bromley  
After Care HostelAccommodationAge range
Almond House, 121 Wickham Road, Croydon11 girls15-18

NORTH EASTERN DISTRICT
Residential NurseriesAccommodationAge range
Easneye, Ware, Herts.420-5
Stowlangtoft Hall, Near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolkx1½-5
Widbury House, Ware, Herts.0-5
Large Schools and HomesAccommodationAge range
Hornchurch Children's Home, 117 Hornchurch Road Hornchurch, Essex2822-15
Hutton Residential School, Hutton, Essex4320-15
Hutton Nursery Unit, Hutton, Essex360-2
Small HomesAccommodationAge range
17 Ardilaun Road, N59 boys and girls5-15
Family HomesAccommodationAge range
A number of family homes operated at the Aveley Estate, Essex; Harold Hill Estate, Esseex; and at Stevenage, Hertfordshire.  
Reception HomesAccommodationAge range
Langley House, 54 East India Dock Road, E14402-15

In addition to the homes run by the three districts, there was a small group of 'All-London' homes, which could deal with children from across the capital.

'ALL-LONDON'
After Care HostelsAccommodationAge range
Ingleton House, Rectory Grove, SW436Boys 15-18
Westlea, 6 Dartmouth Park Avenue, NW510Girls 15-18
Loxdale, Lock's Hill, Upper Portslade, Sussex16Girls 15-18
Special HomesAccommodationAge range
Dixcot, 8 North Drive, SW1620Girls 11-15
Gisburne House, 95 Gammons Lane, Watford, Herts27Girls 14-18
Hartfield, Roehampton Lane, SW1524Boys and girls 5-10
Myth House, Berry Lane, Saunders Lane, Mayford, Woking, Surrey14Boys 11-15
Short Stay and Reception HomeAccommodationAge range
Wood Vale, 32 Elder Road, SE27204Short-stay boys and girls 6-15; Reception home boys 12 years.

The Children's Department also had responsibility for a number of Approved Schools and Remand Homes. In 1959, these were as follows:

Approved SchoolsAccommodationAge range at Admission
Ardale, Near Stifford, Grays, Essex133Boys 15-17
Mayford, Mayford Green, Woking, Surrey110Boys 13-15
Mile Oak, Portslade, Sussex80Boys 8-13
Remand HomesAccommodationAge range
Cumberlow Lodge, Chalfont Road, SE2520Senior girls 11-15
Gisburne House, 95 Gammons Lane, Watford, Herts27Senior girls 14-18
Hartfield, Roehampton Lane, SW1524Junior boys and girls 5-10
Myth House, Berry Lane, Saunders Lane, Mayford, Woking, Surrey14Senior boys 11-15

By 1964, a considerable turnover had taken place, as shown below.

NORTH EASTERN DISTRICT
Small Homes
17 Ardilaun Road, N5
110 Daubeny Road, E5
Family Homes
1/3 Elwood Street, N5
75 Mildmay Park, N1
Hostel
21 Frobisher House, Reardon Street, E1
Reception Home
Langley House, 54 East India Dock Road, E14
Special Home
3 The Ridgeway, E4

SOUTH EASTERN DISTRICT
Small Homes
52 Chalcombe Road, SE2
42 Combwell Crescent, SE2
79 Eastcombe Avenue, SE7
70 Edington Road, SE2
93 Herne Hill, Camberwell, SE24
11 Kemsing Road, SE10
35 Lancaster Road, SE25
35A Lancaster Road, SE25
13 Panfield Road, SE2
242 Panfield Road, SE2
40 Peterstone Road, SE2
101 Sewell Road, SE2
58 Westbourne Drive, SE23
Family Homes
50/52 Calvert Road, SE10
Hostels
51 Edington Road, SE2
The Pagoda, Aberdeen Terrace, SE3
Residential Nursery
Ladywell, 82 Ladywell Road, SE13
Reception Home
Liskeard Lodge, 27 Liskeard Gardens, SE3
Remand Homes
128 Auckland Road, SE19
Cumberlow Lodge, Chalfont Road, SE25

WESTERN DISTRICT
Small Homes
27 Aldrington Road, SW16
Westlea, 6 Dartmouth Park Avenue, NW5
22 Frogmore, SW18, Surrey
5 North Drive, SW16
94 Oakley Street, SW3
22 Thrale Road, SW16
23 Ullathorne Road, SW16
Hostels
Ingleton House, Rectory Grove, SW14
25 Westleigh Avenue, SW15
Residential Nurseries
30 Abercorn Place, NW8
St Margaret's, Leighton Road, NW5
Tudor Lodge, 90 Wimbledon Park Side, SW19
Reception Home
Earlsfield House, 1 Swaffield Road, SW18
Remand Home
Stamford House, 23 Cathnor Road, W12
Special Homes
Dixcot, 8 North Drive, SW16
Hartfield, Roehampton Lane, SW15

Following the 1963 Local Government Act, many functions previously carried out by the LCC were taken over by 32 new London Borough Councils (LBCs). Other city-wide responsibilities were assigned to the new Greater London Council (GLC). Elections for the LBCs took place in April 1964 and over the following year the new bodies shadowed the LCC in its final year of operation, the new system fully coming into operation in April 1965. Amongst the functions passed to the LBCs was the provision of children's services, with the LCC's existing stock of residential accommodation being divided up amongst the new Children's Departments. The LBCs are listed below.

Children's establishments run at some time in their history by London County Council.


 

Essex

Hampshire

  • Annesley House, Queen's Crescent, Portsmouth

Hertfordshire

Kent

London (E/EC Postal Areas)

Middlesex

Suffolk

Surrey

Sussex

Carmarthenshire

  • LCC Auxiliary Home, Crug Mawr, Latimer Road, Llandeilo

Glamorgan

* 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 London 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