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.
The Sisters' convent stood next to the School, fronting onto The Ridgeway.
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.
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.
- Daughters Of Charity Of St Vincent De Paul, Provincial House, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1RE. (Archivist: Sister Bernadette Ryder DC) Has Registers (1894-1900, 1906-1979).
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
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