Ancestry UK

Orphanage for Roman Catholic Girls, Southam, Warwickshire

In 1876, the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus established a convent, known as Our Lad's Convent, at Wood Street, Southam. Two years later, the Sister purchased an iron church, capable of seating 150 people, which was transported from Cardiff and erected in the convent grounds.

In 1880, a building providing elementary schools and an orphanage were opened at the convent site. It was the subject of a report in the local press:

It is built of red brick and measures about 70ft. by 30ft., and is pleasantly situated, overlooking the road to Daventry, commanding a fine view of the surrounding country. Upon the ground floor there is large schoolroom, running the whole length of the building, divided by a wooden screen at about one-third of its length, so as to form two class-rooms, one for the boys and the other for the girls. The girls dormitory is a lofty room the second floor, about 50ft. by 25ft. The top floor has been divided into two rooms, to serve as sick wards, &c. The whole of the interior is well ventilated upon the most approved plan, and great attention has been paid to the sanitary arrangements. The building has been erected by Mr W. Gascoyne Leamington, from plans prepared by Mr W. Gascoyne, jun., of that town. The cost, exclusive of fittings, will be about £1,400, which will be defrayed in part by the community of the convent to which the schools are attached, and in part by certain friends and benefactors sympathising in the work to which the sisters have devoted themselves, viz., the care of orphan girls and the education of children general. These sisters were exiled by the Bismarck Laws from Germany, where they had in various towns large orphanages and schools of all grades, primary and secondary and higher schools, and they bring with them the German method of teaching, which is said by authorities on education, to be one of the best public methods of instruction. The elementary schools in Oxford, taught by other members of this community, passed 99 per cent of their pupils when examined by her Majesty's Inspectors last July. The orphan girls now under the care of the sisters look very happy and intelligent, and their dress is neat and not being severely simple, pleasing.

The orphanage site is shown on the 1904 map below.

Southam Orphanage site, Southam, c.1904.

Orphanage for Roman Catholic Girls, Southam, Warwickshire, c.1906. © Peter Higginbotham

On 8 December 1881, the establishment was authorised for use as a Certified School, allowing it to receive children from workhouses boarded out by the Poor Law authorities. It continued to hold this status until 26 April 1892.

The orphanage is believed to have closed in the 1970s. The building was demolished in the 1980s.


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  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.



  • None identified at present.