St Mary's Convalescent Home and Orphanage, Broadstairs, Kent
St Mary's Convalescent Home and Orphanage (also known as St Mary's Convalescent Home for Poor Children) was established in the early 1880s at Broadstairs. It initially occupied premises on Wrotham Road, Broadstairs. It was run by the Community of the Sisters of the Church, an Anglican sisterhood of nuns sometimes referred to as the Kilburn Order, in conjunction with the Church Extension Association, who operated a number of other institutions.
In 1887, the home moved to large, purpose-built premises at 20 Stone Road, Broadstairs. St Mary's Home (for 'Convalescent, Crippled and Friendless Children' as it was known for a time) had 300 beds. Of these, just 18 were used to provide a permanent home for orphans, and the remainder used to provide convalescent care for poor children. The first two weeks of any stay were free if recommended by a subscriber. In other cases, and for longer stays, a weekly payment was required. Girls were accepted between the ages of 6 and 12, and boys from 6 to 8 years.
In 1958, the home moved to new premises about a quarter of a mile away, on North Foreland Road. The property, previously known as Thanet Place, provided 24 residential and 20 day places which were mostely placements by Kent County Council. After the council withdrew its support for the home 1983, the home moved to smaller premises elsewhere.
The Stone Road buildings have now been demolished and modern housing covers the site. The former entrance lodge still survives, now converted to private residential use. Thanet Place was subsequently used as an old people's home. After a period standing empty, it has now been converted to residential 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.
- Community of the Sisters of the Church holds records for homes run by the Order. Enquiries should be directed to: Community Archivist, St Michael's Convent, Vicarage Way, Gerrards Cross, Bucks SL9 8 AT. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Note: no records are held for individual convalescent children for either St Mary's Convalescent Home, Thanet, Kent, or the Abraham Ormerod Convalescent Home, Lytham St Anne's.)
- Anonymous, A Valiant Victorian: The Life and Times of Mother Emily Ayckbowm 1830-1900 of the Community of the Sisters of the Church (1964, A. R. Mowbray & Co. Ltd., London)
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