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.
An infirmary was erected at the north of the site in 1907.
The home had a small farm attached where the children could learn agricultural skills.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
- Action For Children.
- Their History — a website on the homes by a former resident.
- Growing up in the NCH — a forum for those who spent time in NCH homes.
- Scenes from various NCH Homes — 1960s film footage.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 1 — Arriving at Harpenden.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 2 — Harpenden Oval.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 3 — Annual Convocation, Alverstoke
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 4 — Special facilities at Danesford, Chipping Norton, Harpenden and Frodsham.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 5 — Founders Day at Princess Alice Orphanage; training at Harpenden.
- NCH Documentary (1954) Part 6 — Harpenden.
- NCH Documentray (1964) Part 1 — Disabled and special needs at Harpenden and Chipping Norton
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 2 — Disabled and special needs children at Harpenden, Edgworth, Chipping Norton.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 3 — Harpenden, Edgworth, Chipping Norton.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 4 — Alverstoke.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 5 — Alverstoke.
- NCH Documentary (1964) Part 6 — Alverstoke.
- NCH Frodsham (1960s) Part 1
- NCH Frodsham (1960s) Part 2
- NCH Brackley (1960s)
- Danesford School (1960s)
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.