St Vincent's Independent School / Home for Maladjusted Girls, St Leonards on Sea, Sussex
The St Vincent's Home and School for Girls was opened in 1934 at St Saviour's Road, St Leonards on Sea. It was run by Sisters from a Roman Catholic order, the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, and replaced their previous open-air school for delicate children at Dover. Like its predecessor, the establishment mainly catered for girls from London and other cities who suffered from chest complaints. Since the girls often stayed for several months, a school was included at the site,
During the Second World War, the School was evacuated to Hollycombe House at Liphook, Hampshire, but returned to St Leonards in 1946.
The School's facilities were steadily expanded over the following decades. By the 1970s, however, a decline in numbers coming to the establishment led to its being used instead for 'maladjusted' girls with emotional difficulties, most of whom were placed by local authorities. Although the Sisters still remained at the site, the care of the girls was increasingly placed in the hands of lay staff. By the 1990s, the financial constraints on local authorities resulted a fall in placements at the School and it closed in August, 1993.
The property was then sold to Hastings College. After they vacated the site in 2010, it was sold for residential development and the existing buildings demolished.
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.
- Daughters Of Charity Of St Vincent De Paul, Provincial House, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1RE. (Archivist: Sister Bernadette Ryder DC) Has extensive records of the girls.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
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