Nazareth House, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
A Nazareth House was established in 1906 at 1647 Paisley Road West in the Cardonald district of Glasgow. It provided accommodation for the aged poor and for orphan and destitute children — primarily Roman Catholic girls.
In December, 1925, a police search was launched for a young mother who left her baby lying in the porch of the home. The child was discovered after the mother had attempted to get her baby admitted to the institution and had been refused. She was given some food, however, and it was after her departure that one of the sisters found the child lying on a rug in the porch. Pinned to the clothing was the note "Please look after wee Johnny, for love of the blessed Virgin." The child was then placed in the care of Paisley poorhouse. One of the Sisters explained that the mother had come to the door of the home and asked that her child be admitted. The Sister told her that they had been refusing similar requests all week owing to the home being full. The woman had then asked to be given some food. When this was brought she sat in the porch eating alongside several other people, mostly tramps. Some time later, the Sister had gone back into the porch and found the baby lying on rug in the corner wrapped in a fawn-coloured shawl. The mother, Agnes Beck, aged 18, was subsequently located and appeared in court. The case was dismissed after Beck's half-sister agreed to adopt the child and also look after its mother.
The home still continues to provide residential care for the elderly.
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.
- Sisters of Nazareth Archive, Sisters of Nazareth Archive, Nazareth House, 169-175 Hammersmith Road, London W6 8DB. The archivist is Christine Hughes. The archive contains material from the very beginnings of the order in the 1850s up until the present day. The archive is not open to the public and does not have facilities for personal searchers, although exceptions can be made for Sisters and for academic researchers. Enquiries are welcomed by post only for privacy and confidentiality reasons and replies are by also letter. There is no fee for dealing with enquiries, although donations to the Sisters are appreciated.
- Fothergill, Anne Memoirs of a Nazareth House Girl (2013, Quoin Publishing). Memories of the Middlesbrough Nazareth House.
- Gray-Wilson, Shirley It isn't Always Raining: Children in Care, 1939-1948 (2000). Life in the Carlisle and Newcastle Nazareth Houses.
- Kelly, Judith Rock Me Gently: A Memoir Of A Convent Childhood (2006, Bloomsbury). A memoir of life at Bexhill Nazareth House in the early 1950s. The factual veracity of this book has been challenged, and charges of plagiarism levelled against the author (e.g. see Catholic Herald 2/9/2005). The introduction to the current edition of the book acknowledges some of these criticisms.
- Reilley, Frances Suffer The Little Children: The True Story of An Abused Convent Upbringing (2009, Orion). Memories of the Belfast Nazareth House.
- Nuns 'abused hundreds of children' (Guardian article 16/8/1998)
- Sisters of No Mercy (Guardian article 1/4/2003)
- Compensation for care homes abuse (BBC News item 15/8/2006)
- Sisters of Nazareth become second Catholic order to admit to child abuse (Guardian article 14/1/2014)
- Children at Derry care homes were made to eat vomit, inquiry told (Guardian article 27/1/2014)
- A Time for Penance? (BBC Scotland 'Frontline' TV feature on abuse in Scottish Nazareth Houses)
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