St Christopher's Home, Olton, Birmingham, Warwickshire
The St Christopher's Home for babies and toddlers was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1931 at 252 Warwick Road, Olton, near Birmingham. Its location is shown on the 1937 map below.
Half of the home's construction costs had been raised over a six-year period by the Midland Waifs and Strays League, better known as the 'Waif-aiders'. The building was designed by Messrs. Dallas and Lloyd, the latter — Bernard M. Lloyd — having been a keen supporter of the Society for many years.
The home was officially opened on December 16th, 1932, by the Duchess of Beaufort, with a ceremony of dedication conducted by the Bishop of Birmingham.
The home could accommodate up to 50 children who were usually admitted as babies and moved on to other homes at around the age of four.
At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the home was evacuated to Huntley Manor in Gloucestershire, returning to Olton in 1945.
In 1972, the home's intake was extended to include children of junior school age. In 1978, the home began accommodating children with physical disabilities, including Down's syndrome and cerebral palsy. From 1980, children with learning difficulties were also housed at St Christopher's. In 1990, the home became St Christopher's Home For Multi-disabled Children, readying young people for independent living.
The former St Christopher's buildings have now been demolished and modern flats now occupy the site.
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.
- The Children's Society Records and Archives Centre is at Edward Rudolf House, Margery Street, London, WC1X 0JL (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.)
- 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.
- 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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