Ancestry UK

The Author

Hello, I'm Peter Higginbotham, the creator of this web site which, at the last count, contained over 2000 web pages, nearly 5000 photos and illustrations, and around 600 maps and plans. The children's home project began as a spin-off of my Workhouses web site. The large amount of material I had accumulated on various children's institutions was proving increasingly difficult to incorporate into the workhouses site so I decided give it its own separate site.

I was never in a children's home myself but I do have a personal connection. After their father died, my mother and her twin sister were sent many miles away to live in a home run by nuns, while their mother struggled to bring up the other children in the family. My mother never talked much about the experience but, in retrospect, it had clearly affected her deeply.

Apart from compiling the web sites, I've written many books and articles, as well as contributing to radio and TV programmes, such as Radio 4's Making History and Tracing Your Roots, and BBC TV's Heir Hunters, Who Do You Think You Are?, Coming Home, Timeshift, and Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs. I have also presented many talks on subjects such as the workhouse, children's homes, the history of the prison etc. Quite separate from my historical researches, I have written several pieces for the stage including Steam Radio (an affectionate parody of Brief Encounter) and Making Ends Meet (set in the world's most unsuccessful dating agency).

In 2015, I had the honour of being awarded the Society of Genealogists' prestigious 'Certificate of Recognition' for my 'dedication in compiling extensive information on workhouses and children's homes and making it widely available.' The award was presented by Dr Nick Barratt in conjunction with my talk 'Welfare before the Welfare State' at Westminster, part of the parliamentary 'Festival of Freedoms'.

I'm currently developing another website — on the history of the prison in Britain — — do take a look.

With Hugh Dennis at Oswestry for Channel 4's Great British Dig.

At Easebourne for Phil Spencer's History of Britain in 100 Homes.

Receiving my 'Certificate of Recognition' from Dr Nick Barratt.

At St Ives workhouse site with Jonnie Peacock for BBC1's Who Do You Think You Are?.

At Gressenhall workhouse with Mary Berry for BBC TV's Who Do You Think You Are?.

At Bristol workhouse site with Neil Kinnock for BBC Wales' 'Coming Home'.

At York workhouse site with Una Stubbs for BBC TV's Who Do You Think You Are?.

At Neath workhouse site with Michael Sheen on BBC Wales' 'Coming Home'.

With John Humphrys for BBC Wales' Coming Home.

At Ongar workhouse site with Fearne Cotton for BBC TV's Who Do You Think You Are?.

With Sam Womack for BBC TV's Who Do You Think You Are?.

With Dr Pamela Cox for BBC2's Servants: the True Story of Life Below Stairs.

At Dunmanway workhouse with former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for RTE TV's Who Do You Think You Are?.

With Joanna Toye for BBC4's Britain's Oldest Family Businesses.

With Ben Robinson for BBC4's Pubs, Ponds and Power.

This web site is dedicated to the memory of my mother,
Josephine Higginbotham.