St Mary's Home for Girls, Buxted, Sussex
In the early 1880s, an establishment then known as St Margaret's Home for Girls was opened at Buxted. In around 1900, it was renamed St Mary's and was described as an Industrial Home for Older Girls. In 1908, it was being run by Sisters of the Community of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Brighton. In 1913, under the aegis of the Church Penitentiary Association, St Mary's became a Special Industrial School for girls 'who have been criminally assaulted or have immoral habits or are surrounded by great moral temptations' and 'whose antecedents render them unsuitable for admission to an ordinary Industrial School'. The Home was located at Church Road, Buxted, and was formally certified on August 27th, 1913, to accommodate up to 26 girls who were below the age of 10 at their date of admission. The Home was now managed by the Sisters of the Holy Rood. In 1915, the superintendent was Sister Alison.
The School site is shown on the 1910 map below.
In December, 1915, the official capacity of the Home was raised to 30 places, and again in January, 1927, to 36 places.
In 1933, St Mary's became an Approved School, one of the new institutions introduced by the 1933 Children and Young Persons Act to replace the existing system of Reformatories and Industrial Schools. The School, now managed by Sisters of the Community of St Mary the Virgin, Wantage, accommodated up to 32 Junior Girls aged under 15 at their date of admission. The superintendent at this date was Sister Mary Ignatius Nolan.
St Mary's ceased to be an Approved School on May 1st, 1939.
The Home's former premises have now been converted to residential use.
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.
- East Sussex Record Office, The Keep, Woollards Way, Brighton, BN1 9BP.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- None noted at present.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.