Newton Hall, Frodsham, near Warrington, Cheshire
Newton Hall was opened by the National Children's Home (NCH) in 1903 at Kingsley Road, Frodsham, near Warrington. The home had its origins in a gift to the Home of £20,000; by Miss Mary Fowler of Liverpool which was used to buy the property which comprise a hundred acres of land and two houses — Newton Hall and Springside Villa.
The first residents, placed in Springside Villa, were three boys transferred from the Edgworth home. There were followed soon afterwards by eight girls from Bonner Road who moved into Newton Hall itself. Three or four years later, several new houses were erected and a further gift was received of a seventy-five acre farm. The home could eventually house three hundred children.
The main part of the Newton Hall site was organised as a "cottage homes" layout in the style of a self-contained village, with the children's houses arranged around a large green. Houses for boys were at one side of the circle and girls at the other. The house blocks were sub-divided into four flats each accommodating eight children under the supervision of a staff "Sister". The children's houses were supplemented by a chapel, community hall, laundry and an administration block, with a hospital in Newton Hall. Other houses were later added farther away from the green. In 1910, there wer six houses in operation and a total of 190 children at the home; by 1928, this had risen to ten houses and 306 children; by 1933, there were twelve houses accommodating up to 350 children.
The layout of the home is shown on the 1960s map below.
The home ran its own elementary school which was taken over by the County Council in 1930 and renamed the Kingsley and Newton Temporary Council School. It closed in 1932 when new the Kingsley and Newton Council School was built.
Boys at the home were taught the skills of farming, gardening and bootmaking. Girls were prepared for domestic service, laundry work and nursing
In 1933, two new blocks were erected alongside the main road. Stephenson House became the home's administrative department, while Springside was a hospital block.
In 1943, a nursery was established in some houses in the Netherton area of Frodsham. In 1963, Springside was converted to a nursery and adoption centre; this role ended in 1970 when it became a training centre for nursery nurses.
The children's daily routine began at 6.30am and before breakfast various household chores were carried out such cleaning the dormitories, toilets and stairs, helping in the kitchen, and ensuring that the young children were washed and dressed. A short service took place in the chapel at 8am, with the boys seated at one side and girls on the other. From 1932, most of the children attended the local council-run schools.
The food provided at the home was fairly basic. Breakfast consisted of bread and milk or porridge and a mug of cocoa. Dinner offerings included stew, fish or cold meat and vegetables followed by rice pudding or 'figgy duff'. For tea, there was bread and margarine with jam or golden syrup and a mug of cocoa, with a cake or bun and weak tea on Sundays. A breakfast treat on Good Friday was a boiled or poached egg and a toasted bun, while birthdays were celebrated with a small sausage roll.
From December 1981 until May 1982, part of the home was occupied by 32 refugee Vietnamese 'boat people'.
In the early 1980s, falling numbers of children being placed in long-term residential led to the disposal of some of the peripheral buildings at the site and the eventual final closure of the home in August 1985. A commemorative plaque now stands at the edge of the green.
The buildings have now been converted to private 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.
- 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. Has school log book (October 1919 - October 1932) Archive reference SL319/1.
- Urey, Gary The Newton Hall Story (1985, privately published)
- 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)
- Action For Children.
- Their History — a website on the homes by a former resident.
- Growing up in the NCH — a forum for those who spent time in NCH homes.
- Scenes from various NCH Homes — 1960s film footage.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 1 — Arriving at Harpenden.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 2 — Harpenden Oval.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 3 — Annual Convocation, Alverstoke
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 4 — Special facilities at Danesford, Chipping Norton, Harpenden and Frodsham.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 5 — Founders Day at Princess Alice Orphanage; training at Harpenden.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 6 — Harpenden.
- NCH Documentray (1964) Part 1 — Disabled and special needs at Harpenden and Chipping Norton
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 2 — Disabled and special needs children at Harpenden, Edgworth, Chipping Norton.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 3 — Harpenden, Edgworth, Chipping Norton.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 4 — Alverstoke.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 5 — Alverstoke.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 6 — Alverstoke.
- NCH Frodsham (1960s) Part 1
- NCH Frodsham (1960s) Part 2
- NCH Brackley (1960s)
- Danesford School (1960s)
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.