St George's Home For Boys, Penketh, Warrington, Cheshire
In 1934, the St George's Home For Boys, run by Waifs and Strays Society, moved from Orford, at the north of Warrington, to new premises at the west of the town on Hall Nook Road, Penketh. It was officially opened on December 12th, 1934, by Warrington wire manufacturer Sir Peter Rylands, and dedicated by the Bishop of Warrington. The home could accommodate 30 boys aged from 6 to 14, and six trainees 14 and over. As well as its role as a 'Training Home' (in what is unclear), the home was used as a holiday venue for former residents to return to.
The location of the Penketh home is shown on the 1937 map below.
At the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, the boys and staff were evacuated to Pont-y-Pant in North Wales, where they had previously visited on holiday. They were then distributed to other homes.
The Penketh premises re-opened in 1946 to receive the residents of the Society's St Andrew's Home for Boys at Matlock, which was being converted for use as a nursery.
The photograph below was kindly contributed by former inmate, Graham Thompson. At the back are the house master and his wife a Mr and Mrs Huetson, and the little girl in front scratching her eye is their daughter. Graham is to her left and dressed as a mouse, presumably the occasion was a fête or similar event.
St George's finally closed in 1970 with the Superintendents, Mr and Mrs Huetson, and some of the boys moving to the Ryecroft Home, near Manchester, and the rest being dispersed amongst other homes located nearer to their relatives.
The Penketh building no longer survives and the site is now covered by modern housing.
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
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