Ancestry UK

St Vincent's School / Orphanage, Mill Hill, London

In 1887, St Vincent's School (or Orphanage) for Boys was founded in north-west London by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, a Roman Catholic order that originated in France. On April 1st of that year, its premises, at The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, were formally accredited for use as a Certified School, allowing it to receive boys boarded out by the workhouse authorities. The School could accommodate up to 210 boys, aged from 2 to 7 years at their date of admission.

St Vincent's School, Mill Hill, c.1905.

The Sisters' convent stood next to the School, fronting onto The Ridgeway.

Rear view of St Vincent's Convent, Mill Hill, c.1905. © Peter Higginbotham

Mill Hill received some of its intake from the St Mary's Orphanage at North Hyde. On reaching the age of 11, boys were transferred to the Wiseman House School, Walthamstow.

In 1934, a Nursery Training School was opened in a new building at the site. Numbers at the School were gradually reduced from 200 junior boys and 100 infants, to four groups of 40 children, with the establishment renamed St Vincent's Residential School in 1936. Numbers were eventually reduced to 20 in each group, and the first girls admitted with their brothers in 1953. By 1970, there were just three family groups of nine children using only a part of building, then renamed Langdale House. The group home was subsequently phased out and in 1984 the building became the Damascus House Retreat and Conference Centre.

In 1975, a new family group house known as Ridgemount was built opposite the convent for teenagers coming from St Vincent's Orphanage

In recent times, the whole of the original site has been sold for conversion to private residential use. The Sisters now occupy the priory site opposite.


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