Ancestry UK

Cottage Orphan Home, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

In 1870, an appeal to found a cottage home for destitute little girls in Cambridge was launched by two members of St John's College, Mr A.C.P. Coote and Mr H.J. Watney, who themselves help finance the scheme. A site was subsequently purchased on Fitzwilliam Road for the sum of £240 and the home built at a further cost of £475. The home could house up to twelve girls aged 4 to 10, with the first four inmates being admitted on 1st January 1872.

An 1879 directory locates the home at 5 Fitzwilliam Road with Mrs Connely as Matron, but in later times its address — was given as 2 Fitzwilliam Road. The location of the home is shown on the 1926 map below.

Cottage Homes, Cambridge site, c.1926.

In 1948, the home was taken over by the Children's Society (formerly the Waifs & Strays Society) then from 1951 was run by Barnardo's who record its address as 1 Fitzwilliam Street. In 1972, the property was acquired by the local council as a hostel for working-age boys. The building no longer exists.


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  • Barnardo, Syrie Louise, and Marchant, James Memoirs of the Late Dr Barnardo (Hodder & Stoughton, 1907)
  • Batt, J.H. Dr. Barnardo: The Foster-Father of "Nobody's Children" (S.W. Partridge, 1904)
  • Bready, J. Wesley Doctor Barnardo (Allen & Unwin, 1930)
  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Rose, June For the Sake of the Children: Inside Dr. Barnardo's: 120 years of caring for children (Hodder & Stoughton, 1987)
  • Wagner, Gillian Barnardo (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1979)