Ancestry UK

Ever Open Door, Portsmouth, Hampshire

In November 1898, Dr Barnardo opened an 'Ever Open Door' receiving house at 293 Commercial Road, Portsmouth. It was the tenth such establishment to be set up in Britain's provincial cities and followed on from those already opened in Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Plymouth. The Ever Open Door houses, with their slogan 'No Destitute Child Ever Refused Admission', were open twenty-four hours a day and provided short-term shelter for homeless youngsters while consideration was given to their future, which would generally be in a long-term Barnardo home or emigration to Canada.

The Commercial Road Ever Open Door could hold up to ten children, with 15 being the upper age limit for admission. By 1920, the Ever Open Door had relocated to premises at 14 Grove Road North, Portsmouth, again with the capacity for ten children. A further relocation had taken place by 1930 to 48 King's Road, Portsmouth. In 1945, the home was operating at 16 St Edward's Road, Portsmouth.

Of the above, only 16 St Edward's Road survives.


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  • Barnardo, Syrie Louise, and Marchant, James Memoirs of the Late Dr Barnardo (Hodder & Stoughton, 1907)
  • Batt, J.H. Dr. Barnardo: The Foster-Father of "Nobody's Children" (S.W. Partridge, 1904)
  • Bready, J. Wesley Doctor Barnardo (Allen & Unwin, 1930)
  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Rose, June For the Sake of the Children: Inside Dr. Barnardo's: 120 years of caring for children (Hodder & Stoughton, 1987)
  • Wagner, Gillian Barnardo (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1979)