Knebworth / St Alban's Home for Boys, Knebworth, Hertfordshire
The Knebworth Home for Boys was founded in 1888 by the Rev. Herbert Jones, a Rector from London who, for the reasons of his health, had moved to the Knebworth's country setting. Having previously worked with impoverished children, he decided to set up the home in Rectory Cottage, opposite the village school. The establishment, which operated under the aegis of the Waifs and Strays Society, was opened in September, 1888, and housed six orphan and destitute boys from London, aged from 6 to 12 years. Mrs Smith was matron of the home
The boys attended the village school and also tended the home's garden, producing a good supply of fruit and vegetables.
A need for more space led to the decision to build new premises for the home which was closed from 1912 to 1914 while its construction was carried out. The new building, located on the London Road in 'new' Knebworth, was designed by Mr E.J. May. It was formally opened by Lady Lytton on 27th May, 14, with Archdeacon Gibbs performing the ceremony to dedicate the home as St Alban's Home for Boys. The home could now accommodate 40 boys aged from 5 to 14.
Like many other such homes, St Alban's formed its own Boy Scout troop.
The home continued in use until 1975. In more recent times, a pre-school group occupied the building. The property was demolished in 2014.
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.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by surname.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by date of birth.
- The Children's Society Records and Archive Centre is at Block A Floor 2, Tower Bridge Business Complex, 100 Clement's Road, London, England SE16 4DG (email: email@example.com). Files for children admitted to its homes after September 1926 were microfilmed in the 1980s and the originals destroyed. Some post-1926 files had already been damaged or destroyed during a flood. The Society's Post-Adoption and Care Service provides access to records, information, advice, birth record counselling, tracing and intermediary service for people who were in care or adopted through the Society.
- The Society has produced detailed catalogues of its records relating to disabled children, and of records relating to the Children's Union (a fundraising body mostly supported from the contributions of children).
- Bowder, Bill Children First: a photo-history of England's children in need (1980, Mowbray)
- Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society [Rudolfe, Edward de Montjoie] The First Forty Years: a chronicle of the Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society 1881-1920 (1922, Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society / S.P.C.K.)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Morris, Lester The Violets Are Mine: Tales of an Unwanted Orphan (2011, Xlibris Corporation) — memoir of a boy growing up in several of the Society's homes (Princes Risborough, Ashdon, Hunstanton, Leicester) in the 1940s and 50s.
- Rudolf, Mildred de Montjoie Everybody's Children: the story of the Church of England Children's Society 1921-1948 (1950, OUP)
- Stroud, John Thirteen Penny Stamps: the story of the Church of England Children's Society (Waifs and Strays) from 1881 to the 1970s (1971, Hodder and Stoughton)
- Hidden Lives Revealed — the story of the children who were in the care of The Children's Society in late Victorian and early 20th Century Britain.
- The Children's Society
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.