Home of St Peter and St Paul, Balham, London
The Home of St Peter and St Paul was opened in 1925 by the Waifs and Strays Society at 14-18 Thornton Road, Clapham Park, Balham. It could accommodate 35 children aged from 6 months up to 7 years. The home acted as a receiving home for children coming into the Society's care for the first time. They were temporarily housed at the home until being placed into adoption or transferred to one of the Society's branch homes.
The Home of Saints Peter and Paul was built in the grounds of the St Winifred's Home and had previously operated in part of the St Winifred's premises. The new building was opened in May, 1925, by Lady Dale, with the Bishop of Southwark conducting the ceremony of dedication. The building was said to be 'planned on scientific lines with the object of curtailing as much as possible the spread of those childish infectious complaints which the new members of their families are liable to introduce. The buildings consist of duplicate blocks, each holding twenty children and so arranged that when one is closed the work of the other can go on unchecked.'
The location of the home is shown on the 1954 map below, by which date the St Luke's Home occupied the premises.
In 1929, the receiving home was relocated to King's Avenue, Clapham Park. The Thornton Road premises were then adapted for use as the St Peter and Paul Babies' Home. The babies' home was formally opened on June 14th, 1929, by Princes Helena Victoria, a grand daughter of Queen Victoria. It could house 34 babies under the age of two.
The home received a major donation from Sir Frederick Pascoe Rutter. His gift of £5,000 endowed the Mary Agnes Rutter Ward in memory of his late wife.
By 1938 it was felt that the building was no longer suitable and in January of the following year, the babies' home was relocated to new premises at Catford.
In 1949, the Thornton Road site became home to the St Luke's Reception Centre.
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.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by surname.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by date of birth.
- The Children's Society Records and Archive Centre is at Unit 25, Springfield House, 5 Tyssen Street, London E8 2LZ (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Files for children admitted to its homes after September 1926 were microfilmed in the 1980s and the originals destroyed. Some post-1926 files had already been damaged or destroyed during a flood. The Society's Post-Adoption and Care Service provides access to records, information, advice, birth record counselling, tracing and intermediary service for people who were in care or adopted through the Society.
- The Society has produced detailed catalogues of its records relating to disabled children, and of records relating to the Children's Union (a fundraising body mostly supported from the contributions of children).
- 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.)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- 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.
- 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)
- Hidden Lives Revealed — the story of the children who were in the care of The Children's Society in late Victorian and early 20th Century Britain.
- The Children's Society
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