Ancestry UK

Cardiff Ever Open Door, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales

In February 1892, Dr Barnardo opened an 'Ever Open Door' receiving house in Cardiff at 15 Moira Terrace. It was one of seven such establishments being set up in Britain's provincial cities at that date, the others being in Bath, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne and Plymouth. The Ever Open Door houses, with their slogan 'No Destitute Child Ever Refused Admission', were open twenty-four hours a day and provided short-term shelter for homeless youngsters while consideration was given to their future, which would generally be in a long-term Barnardo home or emigration to Canada. The premises at Moira Terrace could accommodate up to sixteen children, with 15 being the upper age limit for admission.

In January, 1894, the home became embroiled in a controversy after an article in the Western Mail suggested that the former superintendent of the establishment, Mr Irving Guguid, had resigned as a protest against Barnardo's policy of proselytizing Roman Catholic children. The home's temporary superintendent Mr J.H. Stephenson, told a reporter Duguid had not resigned for that reason but that it was indeed true that three Catholic boys taken in during Duguid's tenure had been rejected by Barnardos' headquarters as ineligible for care. Stephenson also commented that Dr. Barnardo was unable to deal with all the Protestant waifs and strays, and that the Doctor's hands were quite full without looking after Catholic children. He was sure, however, that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul [a Catholic children's care provider] would look after their own neglected children, not just in Cardiff, but all over the country. Barnardos' head office were also quick to respond, saying that Duguid had not resigned at all but had been dismissed for unsatisfactory conduct while in charge of the institution. He had neglected his work, had positively disobeyed the orders given by those who were over him, and had incurred debt with local tradesmen. Duguid himself also subsequently denied that his resignation had been brought about by any friction regarding Roman Catholic boys. Tellingly, though, he had now opened his own "Hope" Home for Lads, situated at 17, Moira-terrace, immediately next door to the Ever Open Door.

The Mora Terrace property still survives, with number 15 forming the upper storeys above a women's centre.

15 Moira Terrace, Cardiff, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

By 1912, the home had moved 10 Pembroke Terrace (now Churchill Way), Cardiff. In 2013, the property was a bar.

10 Pembroke Terrace (now Churchill Way), Cardiff, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1934, the home moved again, to premises at 254 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, Glamorgan. In 1943, it was home to eight boys and eight girls.

Barnardo's Ever Open Door, 254 Cowbridge Road East, c.1943. © Peter Higginbotham

Barnardo's Ever Open Door, 254 Cowbridge Road East, c.1943. © Peter Higginbotham

By 1953, the property was known as Ynis Cedwyn. In more recent times, it housed the local juvenile justice service. Modern flats now occupy the site.


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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)