Cherrytree Orphanage, Sheffield / Totley Rise, Derbyshire
The Cherrytree (or Cherry Tree) Orphanage was founded in 1862 by Edward Taylor, who had travelled widely as a missionary in the Middle East and south-east Asia. The Orphanage initially operated in a rented house at the bottom of Osborne Road, Nether Edge. Taylor was a successful fund-raiser and by 1865, 35 children were in residence at the establishment. Support also came from local people in donations of coal, firewood and potatoes.
In 1865, the Osborne Road house changed hands and the Orphanage was forced to find new premises. It relocated a short distance to a house on Sharrow Lane in the Highfield district. The high cost of the rent and other expenses prompted Taylor to launch an appeal for funds to erect a permanent home for the orphanage. Taylor subsequently became embroiled in a highly public controversy involving the treasurer of the building fund, Alfred Allott. Allott questioned Taylor's financial competence after the latter had, without consultation, entered into a contract for £2,000 with only £300 in hand. Questions were also raised about Taylor's right to use the title of 'Reverend'.
Despite these problems, the building project went ahead and a seven-acre site was found at Brook Hall on Mickley lane, Totley Rise, a few miles to the south of Sheffield, and just over the county border into Derbyshire. On August 21st, 1867. the corner stone of the building was ceremonially laid by the Mayor of Sheffield, John Webster. The building, designed by Messrs. C.J. Innocent and Brown, of Sheffield, was constructed entirely of blue stone from the Twentywellsick quarries. The accommodation included a spacious school-room, a dining-room, nursery, kitchens, dormitories, store rooms, an teachers' sitting and bedrooms. The building work was carried out by Messrs T. and W. Nelson, of Wadsley Bridge. A total of 55 children could be housed in the premises.
Following the opening of the new building, Taylor placed its ownership and management in the hands of a Board of Trustees. In August 1869, he resigned from his involvement with the Orphanage and he and his family left Sheffield. In 1871, he was again running a children's home, at 111 Stockport Road, in the Ardwick area of Manchester.
The Orphanage took poor children, aged five and upwards, who parents were both dead. Applicants were required to supply a birth certificate together with certificates of marriage and death of the parents. Girls remained at the Orphanage until the age of 16, usually going into domestic service. Boys could leave at the age of 14.
The School site is shown on the 1935 map below.
The Orphanage closed in around 1976 and the building is now a Cheshire Home supporting disabled people.
Following the closure of the Orphanage, its charitable purposes were continued in other directions and the company Cherrytree Support Services was formed to run its day-to-day operations. The charity currently runs a scheme to support up to 20 young people at Mickley Lane, Totley. Accommodation for a further 8 people is provided in a house on Granville Road, Sheffield.
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- Cherrytree Support Services.
- Transcriptions of the Orphanage Admissions Books (1866-1929) and Totley census listings are available on the Totley History Group website.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.