Diocesan Home for Girls, Longwell Green, Bristol, Gloucestershire
The Diocesan Home for Girls, run by the Waifs and Strays Society, was officially opened on October 2nd, 1903, by the Bishop of Bristol. The home was located in a large house known as Oldland Hall, on Bath Road, Longwell Green, which the Society initially rented.
In 1904, Admiral Arden Close purchased the property and donated it to the Society in memory of his recently deceased wife. The establishment then became known as Admiral and Mrs Arden Close Memorial Home for Girls. The home could accommodate 30 girls aged from 7 to 14.
The typical daily routine at the home was as follows:
6.30am Rise and wash.
6.45am Prayers in the dormitories.
7.00am Make beds and clean dormitories.
7.45am Breakfast, followed by prayers in the Chapel.
8.3Oam Leave for school at St Anne's C of E School at Oldland (1.5 miles away)
12.30pm Return to the home for dinner then walk back to school.
4.30pm Return to the home after school. Wash.
5.00pm Tea followed by playtime time.
6.00pm Younger children have bath then go to bed.
6.30pm Older children attend evening prayers in the chapel.
7.15pm Older children retire to bed.
The home closed in 1930 and moved to new premises at Box in Wiltshire which initially adopted the Arden Close named, but later came Sunnyside Nursery.
Oldland Hall has now been converted into flats.
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 Unit 25, Springfield House, 5 Tyssen Street, London E8 2LZ (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.