Audenshaw Home for Girls, Audenshaw, Lancashire
The Audenshaw Home for Girls was established by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1893 at Audenshaw Road, Audenshaw, a modest property formerly known as Trafalgar House. The home's official opening on April 24th, 1894, was performed by the Bishop of Manchester. It originally provided accommodation for 12 girls, aged from 6 to 13.
In 1897, the home was extended to increase its capacity to 20 places. During the month-long building work, the children were taken on a seaside holiday at Bolton-le-Sands.
On November 26th, 1897, the home was certified to received children boarded there by Boards of Guardians — the authorities than ran the workhouses in each area. Although Guardians usually set up their own children's accommodation, they sometimes used certified homes if they had run out of space, or if the children had special needs or non-Anglican religious affiliations.
Homes such as Audenshaw were generally much supported by the local community. Regular events included the annual Pound Day, where people were invited to donate a pound in cash or a pound weight of goods, such as foodstuffs or other items. Local fund-raising also provided each year's summer outing to places such as Worsley and the grounds of its Hall. The girls were also encouraged to make friends with local children.
At the start of the Second World War in 1939, the girls were evacuated to the Ashbourne Home in Derbyshire, whose residents had been found other accommodation nearby. It turned out to be a one-way trip as the Audenshaw home was never re-opened.
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.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by surname.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by date of birth.
- The Children's Society Records and Archive Centre is at Block A Floor 2, Tower Bridge Business Complex, 100 Clement's Road, London, England SE16 4DG (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Files for children admitted to its homes after September 1926 were microfilmed in the 1980s and the originals destroyed. Some post-1926 files had already been damaged or destroyed during a flood. The Society's Post-Adoption and Care Service provides access to records, information, advice, birth record counselling, tracing and intermediary service for people who were in care or adopted through the Society.
- The Society has produced detailed catalogues of its records relating to disabled children, and of records relating to the Children's Union (a fundraising body mostly supported from the contributions of children).
- Bowder, Bill Children First: a photo-history of England's children in need (1980, Mowbray)
- Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society [Rudolfe, Edward de Montjoie] The First Forty Years: a chronicle of the Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society 1881-1920 (1922, Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society / S.P.C.K.)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Morris, Lester The Violets Are Mine: Tales of an Unwanted Orphan (2011, Xlibris Corporation) — memoir of a boy growing up in several of the Society's homes (Princes Risborough, Ashdon, Hunstanton, Leicester) in the 1940s and 50s.
- Rudolf, Mildred de Montjoie Everybody's Children: the story of the Church of England Children's Society 1921-1948 (1950, OUP)
- Stroud, John Thirteen Penny Stamps: the story of the Church of England Children's Society (Waifs and Strays) from 1881 to the 1970s (1971, Hodder and Stoughton)
- Hidden Lives Revealed — the story of the children who were in the care of The Children's Society in late Victorian and early 20th Century Britain.
- The Children's Society
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.