St Audrey's Home For Girls, Bedford, Bedfordshire

St Audrey's Home For Girls was established in 1908 by Waifs and Strays Society. Its premises, at 25 St Cuthbert's Street, Bedford, could accommodate 20 girls from the age of 8 upwards. Amongst the first residents were the girls form the Society's home at Mildenhall which was being closed. The official opening of the home was performed by Bishop Hughes (in the absence of the Bishop of Ely, through illness), April 7th, 1908.

St Audrey's Home For Girls, Bedford, 1908. © Peter Higginbotham

St Audrey's Home For Girls, Bedford, 1908. © Peter Higginbotham

Former St Audrey's Home For Girls, Bedford, c.1913. © Peter Higginbotham

Former St Audrey's Home For Girls, Bedford, 2014. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1914, the home was moved to new premises at 'Woodleigh', 97 Ashburnham Road, Bedford, where up to 30 girls aged from 3 to 15 were housed. The home closed in 1919 when its lease expired.

Former St Audrey's Home For Girls, Ashburnham Road, Bedford, 2014. © Peter Higginbotham

Research in recent years has shown that during the home's twelve-year existence in Bedford, a total of 99 girls were admitted, of whom 47 were referred by their parents and 28 placed by Boards of Guardians. The youngest child admitted was aged 2 years 8 months. Only two of the girls came from within Bedfordshire, the rest coming from a wide spread of places including Brighton, Bristol, Macclesfield, and the London Boroughs of Hampstead, Plumstead and Kensington. This illustrates the common practice of removing children well away from the undesirable circumstances that had led to their coming into care. (Currie, 1998).

Records

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Bibliography

  • Currie, Margaret Rosetta Social policy and public health measures in Bedfordshire, within the national context, 1904-1938 (1998, PhD Thesis, University of Luton)
  • 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.