Ancestry UK

St Anne's Special School for Ophthalmic Roman Catholic Girls, Notting Hill, London

St Anne's Home for Roman Catholic Girls was established by 1897 in part of a Dominican convent site at Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London W10. It specialised in providing treatment for girls with ophthalmia, a serious and highly infectious eye condition. On 16th July, 1897, the Home was accredited as a Certified School, allowing it to receive girls boarded out by the Poor Law authorities, who ran the workhouse system.

On October 7th, 1910, the Home was also certified as a Special Industrial School, allowing it to take girls placed under detention by magistrates. The premises, superintended by Miss Elizabeth Marshall, were licensed to accommodate up to 114 girls.

An inspection report of the Industrial School facilities in 1911 noted that the site was elevated, though not particularly open, and the space available for recreation was somewhat limited. All the rooms for teaching, dining, and sleeping were lofty, airy, and spacious, and all parts of the building were thoroughly clean and in good order. The staff consisted of 11 sisters of the Order of St Dominic. One of these, a trained and certificated teacher, was in charge of the schoolroom, assisted by another sister and three lay teachers. There were also three domestics, a dressmaker, a gardener, and a stoker. The school medical officer was assisted by a specialist in ophthalmic cases. The girls whose eyes improved, but who still needed to be kept for a while under observation, were sent to a convalescent home at Dovercourt, run by the same management. The infants' schoolroom contained 21 girls and their timetable provides for two sessions, one of 2½ hours and one of 2 hours for secular and religious instruction. Time was also made for games, drill, marching, etc. The older scholars received instruction in elementary subjects and also hand-and-eye training by means of needlework, lace-work, knitting, rug-making, and paper and cardboard modelling. Girls whose sight was weak were exempted from this and all forms of written work, as well as from reading. In addition to helping to make and mend their own clothes, the older girls assisted in the kitchen and the laundry as well as in the ordinary domestic work. Those whose eyes were sufficiently well were disposed of to suitable situations on leaving the school.

In January, 1916, the establishment's Industrial School certificate was revised to include an adjacent house at 317 Portobello Road, taking the total accommodation to 136 places. A further revision in July, 1920, removed 317 Portobello Road from the certificate, reducing the number of places to 114.

Part of the Portobello Road site were also used as a Home for Working Girls and as a Magdalen Home for 'penitent fallen women'.

The establishment resigned its Industrial School certificate in 1929. A Spanish bilingual school now occupies the building.

Former St Anne's School site


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