Ancestry UK

Salvation Army Magdalen Women's Homes, Hackney, London

The Salvation Army established a number of homes for girls and women in the Hackney area of London. Some provided short-term hostels and refuges for those in distress. Others provided accommodation and care for unmarried single mothers, both before and after the birth of their child, with many of the deliveries taking place at the Army's own Maternity Hospital or later Mothers' Hospital. For most of these women, the only alternative would have been the workhouse, since other most maternity hospitals would only admit married women.

  • A Receiving Home was opened in 1884 at 259 Mare Street, Hackney, where 29 girls and women in distress could be housed.
  • A Rescue Home was established in 1886 at 183 Amhurst Road, Hackney, accommodating 48 girls and women in distress. In the 1920s, it became a Maternity Home.
  • A Maternity Home for 42 girls was opened in 1888 at 27-29 Devonshire (now Brenthouse) Road, Hackney.
  • A Rescue and Maternity Home was established in 1890 and in 1893 moved to premises at 271 Mare Street, Hackney, with places for 36 girls. The site was converted into a Salvation Army Maternity Hospital in 1894.
  • In the 1880s, the Army established a home for inebriate women at Grove House, Oldhill Road. By 1890, the property was instead operating as a Knitting Home for girls and young women who were taught o use knitting machines. Income from the sale of the work they produced was used to cover the cost of their training and maintenance.
  • In 1891, the Knitting Home moved to Lanark House, 13 Laura Place, Lower Clapton. It housed up to 28 young girls, mostly preventive cases.
  • A Laundry Home was established in 1891 at 14-16 Maury Road, Stoke Newington, accommodating 21 girls and women in distress.
  • In 1900, the Army acquired a large house at 122 Lower Clapton Road, almost adjacent to Lanark House on Laura Place. It was initially used as a Rescue Home for young women coming into the Army's care. From 1900 to 1902, and again from 1906 to 1910, the property also housed the Knitting Home. During the latter period, Lanark House was used as a Nursery Home for mothers and infants. In 1902, 122 Lower Clapton Road also became home to the Army's Training Institute for Women Social Workers.

    Salvation Army Home, 122 Lower Clapton Road. © Peter Higginbotham

  • The Mothers' Hospital was opened in 1913 at 153-156 Lower Clapton Road, Hackney, with accommodation for 75 mothers and 70 infants. It replaced the Maternity Hospital at 271 Mare Street.
  • The Nest, a home for sexually abused girls, was opened in 1895 at 10 Springfield, Upper Clapton.
  • A Maternity Home known as Lorne House No.1 was established in 1909 at 16 Rectory Road, Stoke Newington, with 12 places.
  • A Maternity Home was opened by 1912 at 17-19 Devonshire (now Brenthouse) Road, Hackney. It could accommodate 28 women and 17 babies.
  • A Maternity Home was opened in 1912 at Cotland, 9 Amhurst Park, Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, housing up to 38 mothers and 25 infants.
  • A Mother and Baby Home was opened in 1918 at Hillsborough House, Stoke Newington, housing up to 17 mothers and 20 infants.
  • Two Maternity Homes in Upper Clapton were opened in 1925 at Cotswold, 55 Downs Road (for 32 mothers and 20 babies), and Hope Lodge, 4 The Common (for 27 girls).

    Salvation Army Home, 55 Downs Road. © Peter Higginbotham

  • In 19225, 122 Lower Clapton Road underwent another change of use when along with the adjacent number 124, it becme a Maternity Home known as Sapsworth House, providing accommodation for 28 mothers and 19 babies. The neighbouring premises, at 126-128 Lower Clapton Road, were known as Lorne House No. 2, and provided for 24 mothers and 20 babies.
  • In May 1929, the Knitting Home at Laura Place moved to St Cuthberts, Ross Road, South Norwood.

On 8th February, 1945, Lorne House, at 126-128 Lower Clapton Road was certified for use as an Approved School for Senior Girls. In 1949, the establishment moved to a property known as Avalon, at Chislehurst. In 1952, Lorne House was converted for use as a Nurses' Home and Training Centre in connection with the Mothers' Hospital.


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