Ancestry UK

Watson House, Sutton Coldfield

In 1929, the National Children's Home opened a new branch at Watson House — a large house and grounds at 133 Birmingham Road, Sutton Coldfield. Formally titled the 'Watson Home for Convalescent Children of Birmingham and Warwickshire', it was the NCH's first residential nursery home, with accommodation for up to 40 babies. In 1935, the home also took on the role of a residential training centre for nursery nurses.

The location of the home is shown on the 1937 map below:

Watson House, Sutton Coldfield site, c.1937.

Children at the Watson Home, Sutton Coldfield, c.1939. © Peter Higginbotham

During the Second World War, the property was taken over for use by the officers of anti-aircraft batteries.

On its re-opening in 1946, the home became an annexe to the NCH's Princess Alice Orphanage which stood two miles away. It then accommodated 52 children aged from two to sixteen. In 1949, Watson House again became an independent branch, with the number of children being reduced to 40.

In the 1970s, new accommodation was erected at the rear of the site and the entrance to the home moved to St Bernard's Road.

The original house has now been demolished but the 1970s buildings, on what is now Watson Drive, have been taken over by the YMCA and a local nursery.


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.

  • Action For Children (formerly the National Children's Home). Can provide access to their own records for individuals who were adopted through the charity or who resided in one of its homes. Help also for those searching for family history information.


  • Bradfield, William The Life of the Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson (1913, Kelly)
  • Curnock, Nehemiah The Story of the Children's Home (C.H. Kelly, 1901)
  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Horner, Francis Shadow and Sun (Epworth Press, 1920)
  • Howard, Philip J Philip: a Strange Child (Dalkeith Publishing, 2007)
  • Philpot, Terry Action For Children (Lion, 1994)
  • Walpole, Cecil F. Golden Links (Epworth Press, 1941)