British Seamen's Orphan Boys' Home, Brixham, Devon

The British Seamen's Orphan Boys' Home was established in 1859 by William Gibbs of Tyntesfield. In 1863, the charity opened a home for the orphaned sons of British seamen at Berry Head Road, Brixham, Devon. After Gibbs' death in 1875, the home was placed in the hands of the Bishop of Exeter.

Admission to the home was through a periodic election bye the management Committee who decided upon the most deserving candidates. Alternatively, any person could nominate an orphan upon payment of and entrance fee of three guineas and an annual payment of fifteen guineas a year. Those applying were required to provide certificates of baptism, death and calling of the father, health and fitness for future service at sea, good conduct from clergyman or schoolmaster, a general statement of present circumstances and condition, and the number and means of support of the applicant's family. Entrants were required to be between 8 and 14 years old. At the latter age, arrangements were made for any boy volunteering to enter the Royal Navy or be apprenticed in the Mercantile Marine.

The location of the home is shown on the 1906 map below.

British Seamen's Orphan Boys' Home site, Brixham, c.1906.

British Seamen's Orphan Boys' Home, Brixham, c.1905. © Peter Higginbotham

British Seamen's Orphan Boys' Home Junior School, Brixham, c.1905. © Peter Higginbotham

British Seamen's Orphan Boys' Home — Dormitory, Brixham, c.1905. © Peter Higginbotham

British Seamen's Orphan Boys' Home — view of playground from dormitory, Brixham, c.1905. © Peter Higginbotham

British Seamen's Orphan Boys' Home band, Brixham, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

The home closed in 1988. In 1990, the premises became a Nautical Venture Centre, and are now occupied by the Grenville House Outdoor Centre.

Records

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

Bibliography

  • Walford, Road In the Mirror of the Sea (2011)