St Nicholas' Home for Crippled Children, West Byfleet, Surrey
The St Nicholas' Home for Crippled Children was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1893 at Chertsey Road, West Byfleet, Surrey. It was a replacement for the St Nicholas' Home's previous premises at Upper Tooting. The property, sometimes referred to as Byfleet Hall, was formerly associated with the Princess Mary Village Homes at Addlestone.
The official opening, on June 7th, 1893, was performed by Lady Louisa Egerton, with the Bishop of Winchester conducting a service of dedication in the home's small chapel. There was then a presentation of purses by members of the Children's Union and others.
The new home could accommodate 60 children, comprising girls aged from 3 to 12 years and boys below the age of 7. Apart from being larger than the old building at Tooting, it had very few stairs which made life much easier for those in wheelchairs.
The home's small chapel stood in the garden at the rear of the house.
In 1908, the home moved a mile or so to new purpose-built premises at Pyrford.
Immediately next door to the St Nicholas' Home, and opened on the same day, was the Society's Byfleet Receiving Home.
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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