St Margaret's Home for Girls, Nidd, near Harrogate, West Riding of Yorkshire
The St Margaret's Home for Girls was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1908 at Town Street, Nidd, near Harrogate. It was intended to house children from the nearby industrial city of Bradford. The building, designed by Mr F.H. Hargrave of Harrogate, could accommodate 15 girls aged from 7 to 14. The costs of its construction furnishing were paid for by Viscount Mountgarret.
The home was formally opened on September 24th, 1908, by the Honourable Piers Butler, with the Bishop of Ripon conducting a ceremony of dedication. It was a rather wet occasion as the following picture indicates.
The girls at St Margaret's were enthusiastic members of the Girl Guides.
The girls were expected to contribute towards the home's household chores. For the younger ones, a "dolls' washday" was a useful introduction to the basics of the laundry.
St Margaret's was located about a mile from the local stately home of Ripley Castle. In 1930, the girls from the home took part in a costumed pageant there.
In 1938, after St Margaret's had been undergone a refurbishment, it received an influx of girls from the Society's Whitehaven home which was being closed. In 1946, as was increasingly the norm, the home became mixed and was thereafter known just as St Margaret's Home.
The home closed in 1956. The property is now in private residential use.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.