All Saints' Home for Boys, Ashdon, Saffron Waldon, Essex

The All Saints' Home for Boys was established in 1885 by the Waifs and Strays Society at Ashdon, near Saffron Waldon. The home, which was the Society's first boys' home, was founded by the Rector of Ashdon, the Rev. Henry Barclay Swete who donated a pair of cottages near the village for the purpose. The home could accommodate eight boys up to the age of 8.

In 1891, the home moved to larger, purpose-built premises on Rectory Lane, Ashdon. The cost of the building, some £300, was again paid for by the Rev. Swete who was now Professor of Pastoral Theology at Kings College, Cambridge. The new home, which was officially opened on September 29th, 1890, could house 12 boys, aged from 7 to 10. It was a square building containing a large dining-hall and wash-room, with the boys' dormitory over, a sitting-room for the matron, with her bedroom above, and a kitchen, with a spare room or hospital above.

All Saints' Home for Boys, Ashdon, Saffron Waldon - tug of war, c.1900. © Peter Higginbotham

The first matron of the new home was Mrs Annie Wallis. Her successor, in October, 1895, was 29-year-old Ellen Whitehead who remained in the post until her retirement in 1933.

All Saints' Home for Boys, Ashdon, Saffron Waldon - chaplain, matron and boys, c.1900. © Peter Higginbotham

All Saints' Home for Boys, Ashdon, Saffron Waldon - matron and baby Martin, c.1900. © Peter Higginbotham

All Saints' Home for Boys, Ashdon, Saffron Waldon, c.1909. © Peter Higginbotham

All Saints' Home for Boys, Ashdon, Saffron Waldon, c.1924. © Peter Higginbotham

All Saints' Home for Boys, Ashdon, Saffron Waldon, c.1924. © Peter Higginbotham

The home's elevated location meant that it had to take its water from a nearby well. On occasions when this ran dry, water had to be carried up the steep hill from the village. A mains supply was finally connected in 1938. In the same year, a new wing was built which increase the home's accommodation to 24 boys.

All Saints' Home for Boys, Ashdon, Saffron Waldon, c.1927. © Peter Higginbotham

The home was shut for major renovations in 1961, then resumed operation from 1964 until its final closure in 1972. In recent times, the property has housed a Buddhist retreat centre.

Former All Saints' Home for Boys.

Records

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Census

Bibliography

  • 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.)
  • 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)
  • 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.