'The Red Lamp' (Mr Fegan's), Westminster, London

By 1912, the location of the boys' home run by James Fegan at Southwark had become unsuitable for its purpose and a site for a permanent replacement was found at 62-64 Horseferry Road, Westminster. The existing slum property on the site was demolished and the foundation stone for the new building was laid by Lord Kinnaird on May 20th, 1912. The land for the new venue cost £2,495 and the building £13,855. The square, four-storey house, with its imposing facade, was open day and night for any boy in distress. The establishment was known as 'The Red Lamp' because of the light — a sign of hope and welcome — that burned above its door all through the night.

The new premises housed a number of separate facilities, namely: the organisation's General Offices; an Enquiry and Advisory Bureau to give information, advice and practical help to parents, guardians and clergymen in cases of 'boy-need, boy-peril and boy-difficulty in all classes of life; a Receiving Depot for new cases waiting to be distributed to other branches; and a Working Lads' Hostel — the first rung on the ladder of independent living — for 32 working boys aged from 14 to 16.

The operation of the Red Lamp was soon curtailed by the outbreak of the First World War. After the war, Fegan's administrative offices remained in the building but most of the premises were let out for other purposes.

Since 1995, the property has been occupied by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Other homes run by Fegan were located at Deptford, Greenwich, Ramsgate, Stony Stratford, Goudhurst and Toronto.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.


  • Fullerton, William Young J.W.C. Fegan: A Tribute (1931, Marshall, Morgan & Scott)
  • Sharp, Syd Black Boots and Short Trousers (1995, Syd Sharp)
  • Tiffin, Alfred Loving and Serving: An Account of the Life and Work of J.W.C. Fegan (1976)