Ancestry UK

Crowley's Orphanage for Poor Girls, Birmingham, Warwickshire

Crowley's Orphanage for Poor Girls was established in 1869 as a result of a £10,000 gift and a further £1,000 legacy for the purpose made by Thomas Crowley, a Birmingham timber merchant. It object was 'to maintain and educate poor orphan girls who were born in wedlock, and who have lost both parents, and afterwards to place them in situations.' A Board of Trustees was set up to oversee the institution.

The Orphanage occupied several different premises. In 1877, it was located at Icknield Street West, Ladywood — where the Ladywood Middleway now runs. By the following year, it had moved to 126 Ladywood Road, where Mrs Marion Harvey was matron. In 1881, it was still at Ladywood Road, now under the charge of Miss Elizabeth Brown.

In 1890, the home had settled at 43 Lee Crescent, Edgbaston, where 10 girls could be accommodated. By 1907, it had expanded to also take in numbers 44 and 45, with accommodation now available for 30 girls. In 1930, the premises comprised only numbers 44 and 45.

Former Crowley's Orphanage, 43-35 Lee Crescent, Birmingham, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Admission to the Orphanage was decided by its Committee, based on the merits of each case. Applicants were required to produce a medical certificate of good health, certificates of the marriage and death of the parents, and of the girl's age, which was to between 6 and 13 years. An outfit was required to be provided with each child. Those applying for admission undertook to receive the child back in the event of the Trustees deeming it necessary from any cause to discharge her from the Asylum.

Inmates were trained in needlework, housework and laundry work to prepare them for domestic service on leaving the Orphanage at around the age of 15.

The Orphanage is thought to have closed at around the time of the Second World War.


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.

  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.



  • None identified at present.