Rock Ferry Home For Boys, Birkenhead, Cheshire

The Rock Ferry Home For Boys was established by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1890 and had premises at 19 Well Lane, Rock Ferry. The Bishop of Chester performed the official opening on May 28th of that year. In 1891, the home was being superintended by David and Emma Carroway. Also sometimes known as the Cheshire Cottage Home, it could accommodate ten boys from the age of 5.

In 1900, the home moved to new premises at what was then number 22 Highfield Crescent where 10 boys aged from 6 to 10 were accommodated.

Rock Ferry (Highfield Crescent) Home, Birkenhead, 1903. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Rock Ferry (Highfield Crescent) Home, Birkenhead, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Its Merseyside location brought a nautical influence to the home, with nautical attire often being worn by the boys. Some of their number went on to join the Training Ship Indefatigable, the top of whose masts could be seen from the home.

Bopys at Rock Ferry (Highfield Crescent) Home, Birkenhead, 1903. © Peter Higginbotham

By 1911, the home was operating in larger premises at 12 Derby Place (or Derby Park), Rock Ferry, where 18 boys could be accommodated. The first Matron at Derby Place was Miss Smith, later succeeded by Charlotte Floyd.

Boys at Rock Ferry (Derby Place) Home, Birkenhead, c.1911. © Peter Higginbotham

The precise location of the Derby Place home is unclear but may be at what is now 706 New Chester Road.

Former Derby Place Home(?), Birkenhead, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

After the lease expired on Derby Place, the home home moved to Dacre House on Bebington Road, Rock Ferry. The home could now house up to forty boys from 5 to 15 years in age.

Rock Ferry (Dacre House) Home For Boys, Birkenhead, 1927. © Peter Higginbotham

The home had its own football team, The Dacre House Rovers, that played matched with various local school teams.

Rock Ferry (Dacre House) Home For Boys, sports day, 1930. © Peter Higginbotham

The home finally closed in 1976. The Dacre House site is now covered by modern housing.

Records

Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.

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.