St Joseph's Nazareth House, Southend-on-Sea, Essex
A Nazareth House was established in 1873 in a property known as Milton Hall at 111 London Road, Southend-on-Sea. It provided accommodation both for the aged poor and for invalid, sickly or 'incurable' children from the ages of one to twelve years, mostly those from the Roman Catholic faith. Unlike most other Nazareth Houses, Southend particularly catered for older boys.
In the 1890s, a large new block was erected at the south of the exiting buildings.
By 1920, the home — also known as St Joseph's Nazareth House and as Southend School — could house up to 150 boys. These included some placed by the workhouse authorities who were charged 13s. 6d. a week for each child.
In 1968, the home had become mixed, with places for 50 boys and 20 girls in the age range of two to fifteen years.
The property, still in the hands of the Sisters of Nazareth, continues to provide residential and nursing care for the elderly. In 2018, the local council rejected plans by the Sisters to replace the existing buildings by a new convent, a 77-bed care home and 154 flats.
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.
- Sisters of Nazareth Archive, Sisters of Nazareth Archive, Nazareth House, 169-175 Hammersmith Road, London W6 8DB. The archivist is Christine Hughes. The archive contains material from the very beginnings of the order in the 1850s up until the present day. The archive is not open to the public and does not have facilities for personal searchers, although exceptions can be made for Sisters and for academic researchers. Enquiries are welcomed by post only for privacy and confidentiality reasons and replies are by also letter. There is no fee for dealing with enquiries, although donations to the Sisters are appreciated.
- Fothergill, Anne Memoirs of a Nazareth House Girl (2013, Quoin Publishing). Memories of the Middlesbrough Nazareth House.
- Gray-Wilson, Shirley It isn't Always Raining: Children in Care, 1939-1948 (2000). Life in the Carlisle and Newcastle Nazareth Houses.
- Kelly, Judith Rock Me Gently: A Memoir Of A Convent Childhood (2006, Bloomsbury). A memoir of life at Bexhill Nazareth House in the early 1950s. The factual veracity of this book has been challenged, and charges of plagiarism levelled against the author (e.g. see Catholic Herald 2/9/2005). The introduction to the current edition of the book acknowledges some of these criticisms.
- Reilley, Frances Suffer The Little Children: The True Story of An Abused Convent Upbringing (2009, Orion). Memories of the Belfast Nazareth House.
- Nuns 'abused hundreds of children' (Guardian article 16/8/1998)
- Sisters of No Mercy (Guardian article 1/4/2003)
- Compensation for care homes abuse (BBC News item 15/8/2006)
- Sisters of Nazareth become second Catholic order to admit to child abuse (Guardian article 14/1/2014)
- Children at Derry care homes were made to eat vomit, inquiry told (Guardian article 27/1/2014)
- A Time for Penance? (BBC Scotland 'Frontline' TV feature on abuse in Scottish Nazareth Houses)
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