Ancestry UK

Southdowns, Doddington, Kent

In 1913, the National Children's Home (NCH) opened a new branch called Southdowns on Chequers Hill, Doddington. The property had previously been a boys' boarding school known as Doddington College, and then a girls' convalescent home known as Highgate Woods Lodge. In 1920, Southdowns was recorded as being able to accommodate up to fifty boys and girls of all ages.

Southdowns, Doddington, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

Southdowns, Doddington, 1915. © Peter Higginbotham

By 1935, the home was being used as a boys' home. It is also understood to have served as a babies' home at around this period.

The home closed in 1949, with the children moving to the Alverstoke home. The property was then bought by Kent County Council who employed it as a home for children with emotional difficulties. In more recent times, it became a respite care home for children with special needs.


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.

  • Action For Children (formerly the National Children's Home). Can provide access to their own records for individuals who were adopted through the charity or who resided in one of its homes. Help also for those searching for family history information.


  • Bradfield, William The Life of the Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson (1913, Kelly)
  • Curnock, Nehemiah The Story of the Children's Home (C.H. Kelly, 1901)
  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Horner, Francis Shadow and Sun (Epworth Press, 1920)
  • Howard, Philip J Philip: a Strange Child (Dalkeith Publishing, 2007)
  • Philpot, Terry Action For Children (Lion, 1994)
  • Walpole, Cecil F. Golden Links (Epworth Press, 1941)