Ancestry UK

Home for Penitent Females / Home School for Girls, Leicester, Leicestershire

In 1846, William Biggs raised support for the establishment in Leicester of a Home for Penitent Females. A property i The Newarke was rented for the purpose and opened in January, 1847, with the first inmate admitted in the following March. By the end of that year, there were sixteen inmates in residence. In 1849, a move was made to a larger property in the vicinity. In 1852, the Home relocated to premises in High Cross Street, then in December, 1862, a property was purchased at 16 Blue Boar Lane.

As was usual at such homes, the girls were occupied in laundry work, domestic tasks and needlework. They also received religious instruction.

In 1881, the Home moved to new, purpose-built premises at 58 Stoneygate Road, Leicester. The building, a large three-storey red brick edifice was designed in the Gothic style by local architect William Beaumont Smith.

The Stoneygate Road site is shown on the 1930 map below. By that date, the establishment was known as the Leicester Home for Girls.

Leicester Home for Girls site, Leicester, c.1930.

Former Leicester Home for Girls from the south, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Leicester Home for Girls entrance, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Leicester Home for Girls from the west, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

On September 19th, 1936, the premises were certified for use as an Approved School for Girls, known as the Leicester Home School for Girls. The School could accommodate up to 30 Senior Girls aged between their 15th and 17th birthdays at their date of admission. The inmates received domestic training and could also attend outside classes.

In July, 1938, an Auxiliary Home accommodating 14 girls was opened in premises at 37 Alexandra Road, Leicester. Leicestershire. This may have been used as a hostel from which girls could go out to daily work as a prelude to being placed out on licence.

Another Auxiliary Home was opened in March, 1940, close to the Home at 51 Stoneygate Road, Leicester. It was closed in July, 1950.

On October 24th, 1951, it was announced that the School's managers were resigning its Certificate of Approval. The establishment appears to have closed shortly afterwards and the premises became the Stoneygate Hostel for Female Mental Defectives.

The property is now occupied by a Montessori School.


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  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.