Stokesmead, Alverstoke, Hampshire

In 1887, the National Children's Home (NCH) established a home known as Stokesmead at Somervell Close, Clayhall Road, Alverstoke. The home was primarily intended to accommodate delicate and convalescent children and also infants. Additions were gradually made to the original buildings on the site and in 1900 a total of 72 places was provided, with the number rising to 130 by 1930.

The location and layout of the home in around 1932 is shown on the map below.

Stokesmead site, Alverstoke, c.1932.

Children at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, c.1900. © Peter Higginbotham

Children at Chadwick House, Stokesmead, Alverstoke, c.1910. © Peter Higginbotham

Story time at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

The 'family' at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

The office at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

An infirmary was erected at the north of the site in 1907.

New infirmary at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

New infirmary interior at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

The home had a small farm attached where the children could learn agricultural skills.

Feeding the hens at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

The children at NCH homes were always encouraged to participate in local community activities and organisations. The founding of the Boy Scouts in 1907, followed by the Girl Guides in 1910, provided a useful for this and troops of each were established at the home.

Boy Scout troop at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Girl Guide troop at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

In the mid-1930s, a major rebuilding of the home took place, increasing the accommodation to 184 places. The new buildings were much more in the "cottage homes" style of other NCH homes such as Frodsham and Harpenden with the children's houses arranged around a central green as shown on the map below.

Stokesmead site, Alverstoke, c.1969.

Stokesmead, Alverstoke, aerial view c.1939. © Peter Higginbotham

Stokesmead, Alverstoke, aerial view c.1939. © Peter Higginbotham

Highbury and Hudson Houses at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

A new facility at the home was a "Sunshine House" for children with rickets. Other additions included the "Little Church" at the west of the main site, and the acquisition of a large annexe in the shape Anglesey Lodge and its grounds at the other side of Anglesey Road.

Sunshine House, Stokesmead, Alverstoke, aerial view c.1939. © Peter Higginbotham

Stokesmead, Alverstoke, Little Church, no date. © Peter Higginbotham

Anglesey Lodge, Alverstoke, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

Toddlers at Stokesmead, Alverstoke, July 1938. © Peter Higginbotham

Wakefield House, at the south-west of the site, was used as a primary school for the home.

During the 1950s, Stokesmead was used as a centre for preparing NCH children for emigration to Australia. In 1952, Sunshine House became a Special School for children with learning difficulties, then from 1962 was used as a nursery.

Stokesmead closed in 1984. Most of the buildings have now been demolished and replaced by modern housing. The much altered Little Church now houses a health club and private residence. Anglesey Lodge is now used by the Hampshire Autistic Society. Wakefield House is now a private residence.

Records

Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.

  • Action For Children (formerly the National Children's Home) can provide access to care records for people who were adopted through the charity or who resided in one of its homes. Currently this service is only available to the individuals concerned and not to the descendents of deceased former residents.

Bibliography

  • 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)
  • Horner, Francis Shadow and Sun (Epworth Press, 1920)
  • Philpot, Terry Action For Children (Lion, 1994)
  • Walpole, Cecil F. Golden Links (Epworth Press, 1941)

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