St Katharine's Home for Girls, Southbourne, Hampshire
The St Catherine's (as it was originally spelt) Home at Soutbourne originated in around 1880 as an independent temporary home for girls in the Bournemouth Area. In June 1892, having become a Waifs and Strays Society establishment, it occupied a property known as Sandymount on Crescent Road (now Southbourne Overcliff Drive), Southbourne-on-Sea, formerly owned by a Mrs Williamson. The home could accommodate twenty girls aged from 8 to 12.
Increasing concerns about erosion of the home's cliff-top grounds led to the decision to build a new home on Church Road, Southbourne. Constructions work started in 1914 but was delayed by the onset of the First World War and the home was only completed in 1920. The new building was formally dedicated Canon Daldy on June 4t, 1920, and was now known as St Katharine's. The home now could now accommodate 33 girls, aged from 7 to 16.
In 1929-30, in the run-up to the Society's golden jubilee, each of the homes received a visit from the charity's Secretary, Dr Westcott.
A chapel was added to the home in 1939.
By the early 1950s, the home had became mixed. It finally closed in around 1984.
The Crescent Road property no longer exist. The Church Road house is now in private residential use.
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: email@example.com). 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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