Ancestry UK

Barnardo's Service Girls' Home and Registry, London

In around 1883, a home/hostel for girls over 14 who had gone into domestic service was opened by Barnardo's at Sturge House, 32 Bow Road, East London. The home was financed partly from a gift by a Mr George Sturge. A free registry also operated on the premises, allowing girls looking for a new situation and employers looking for servants to be matched up.

By 1900, the home and registry had moved to 212 Burdett Road, and accommodated up to thirty 'factory and rough girls'. The property had been originally opened by Barnardo's in 1882 as a 'young workman's hotel and institute'.

By 1912 it had moved again, to 507 and 509 Romford Road, Forest Gate, and was again for 'factory and rough girls of good character'.

In 1920, the home — now a 'change home for service girls' — was occupying just 509 Romford Road and having only six places. The home appears finally to have closed in the early 1930s.


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.


  • Barnardo, Syrie Louise, and Marchant, James Memoirs of the Late Dr Barnardo (Hodder & Stoughton, 1907)
  • Batt, J.H. Dr. Barnardo: The Foster-Father of "Nobody's Children" (S.W. Partridge, 1904)
  • Bready, J. Wesley Doctor Barnardo (Allen & Unwin, 1930)
  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Rose, June For the Sake of the Children: Inside Dr. Barnardo's: 120 years of caring for children (Hodder & Stoughton, 1987)
  • Wagner, Gillian Barnardo (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1979)