Ancestry UK

Chaworth St James School, Ottershaw, Chertsey, Surrey

Chaworth House, on Brox Road, Ottershaw, was built by the Earl and Countess of Meath. At her death in 1918, the Countess bequeathed the property to the Ministering Children's League, a charity she had founded in 1885 'for the rescue of destitute children by the children of the wealthy'. The League already operated a cluster of homes in Ottershaw so the property was possibly surplus to their requirements. In 1936, it was sold to the Community of St Mary the Virgin — an Anglican Order based at Wantage.

On September 24th, 1937, under the Order's management, the Chaworth St James Domestic School, an Approved School for Senior Girls, was formally certified for operation at the premises. The School could accommodate 28 girls aged between their 15th and 17th birthdays at their date of admission.

During the Second World War, girls from London's Magdalen Hospital School were evacuated to the Chaworth site. The St James School resumed operation after the war.

In February 1950, the School was renamed the Chaworth St James School.

In 1965, the Community withdrew its Sisters from the School and its management was taken over by a local committee under the chairmanship of Rear Admiral C.L. Parry. The establishment then became known as Chaworth School.

In 1973, the School became a Community Home with Education (CHE) under the control of Camden London Borough Council. The School finally closed in 1991. The building no longer exists.


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.

  • Surrey History Centre, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 6ND. Holdings include Admission and progress register (1947-62); Record of discharges (1942-61); Punishments book (1937-75); Abscondings register (1966-75); Managers' minute books (1948-73).
  • The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Has a few reports and other papers.


  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Hyland,Jim Yesterday's Answers: Yesterday's Answers: Development and Decline of Schools for Young Offenders (1993, Whiting and Birch)
  • Millham, S, Bullock, R, and Cherrett, P After Grace — Teeth: a comparative study of the residential experience of boys in Approved Schools (1975, Chaucer Publishing)