Audenshaw Home for Girls, Audenshaw, Lancashire

The Audenshaw Home for Girls was established by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1893 at Audenshaw Road, Audenshaw, a modest property formerly known as Trafalgar House. The home's official opening on April 24th, 1894, was performed by the Bishop of Manchester. It originally provided accommodation for 12 girls, aged from 6 to 13.

Audenshaw Home for Girls, c.1896. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1897, the home was extended to increase its capacity to 20 places. During the month-long building work, the children were taken on a seaside holiday at Bolton-le-Sands.

Audenshaw Home for Girls, c.1902. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Audenshaw Home for Girls, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Audenshaw Home for Girls, c.1896. © Peter Higginbotham

Audenshaw Home for Girls, c.1896. © Peter Higginbotham

On November 26th, 1897, the home was certified to received children boarded there by Boards of Guardians — the authorities than ran the workhouses in each area. Although Guardians usually set up their own children's accommodation, they sometimes used certified homes if they had run out of space, or if the children had special needs or non-Anglican religious affiliations.

Audenshaw Home for Girls, c.1911. © Peter Higginbotham

Audenshaw Home for Girls, c.1912. © Peter Higginbotham

Audenshaw Home for Girls, c.1920. © Peter Higginbotham

Homes such as Audenshaw were generally much supported by the local community. Regular events included the annual Pound Day, where people were invited to donate a pound in cash or a pound weight of goods, such as foodstuffs or other items. Local fund-raising also provided each year's summer outing to places such as Worsley and the grounds of its Hall. The girls were also encouraged to make friends with local children.

Audenshaw Home for Girls, c.1924. © Peter Higginbotham

At the start of the Second World War in 1939, the girls were evacuated to the Ashbourne Home in Derbyshire, whose residents had been found other accommodation nearby. It turned out to be a one-way trip as the Audenshaw home was never re-opened.

Former Audenshaw Home for Girls, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham


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  • 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.