St Hilda's Home for Girls, Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire
The St Hilda's Home for Girls was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1926 at 24 Keighley Road in the Manningham district of Bradford. The Society had already been raising money to open a home for very young children in the Bradford area when it was offered the existing Bradford Orphan Home, which fitted its requirements. On October 5th, 1927, Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles, officially re-opened the home as St Hilda's, with the Bishop of Wakefield conducting a service of dedication. A guard of honour was provided for the occasion by girls from three other homes in the diocese, St Chad's Home at Far Headingley, the Beckett Home at Meanwood and St Margaret's Home at Nidd.
St Hilda's appears to have been used to accommodate girls somewhat older than originally envisaged. In the late 1920s, it housed 36 girls aged from 6 to 8 years; five years later its capacity was given as 30 girls aged from 7 to 16.
The home had its own Girls Guides company. It also developed a strong musical tradition after a percussion band was started in 1936 by Mr Stephen Moore, the Honorary Secretary of the Worcestershire Association of Musical Societies, who had been visiting Bradford on other business. The following year, the band played on the radio as part of a talk given by Mr Moore. They also appeared on two gramophone records and were even visited by Sir Adrian Boult who listened to them playing along with some of his own orchestral recordings.
At the outbreak of war in 1939, the girls were evacuated to the St Winifred's Home in Rhyl, and then to Lismore House on Fairfield Avenue in Rhyl. It appears that the Bradford home was never re-opened.
The property is now in private use.
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
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