St Elizabeth's Receiving Home and Depot, Clapham Common, London

St Elizabeth's Receiving Home was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1909 at 17 Victoria Road (now Victoria Rise), Clapham Common.

St Elizabeth's Receiving Home, Clapham Common, c.1908. © Peter Higginbotham

The home, which was opened in the summer of 1908, replaced the Marylebone Receiving Home and Training Home for Girls.

Opening day at St Elizabeth's Receiving Home, Clapham Common, c.1908. © Peter Higginbotham

The home provided temporary accommodation for children coming into the Society's care. After being assessed, given a medical check-up, a bath and new clothes, the children typically spent two or three weeks at the home before being moved to one of the Society's branch homes or placed in a foster home. St Elizabeth's could accommodate 32 boys and girls up to the age of seven.

The home also housed the central 'Depôt' of clothing and other items that had been donated to the Society.

Clothing depot at St Elizabeth's Receiving Home, Clapham Common, c.1908. © Peter Higginbotham

A corner of the depot at St Elizabeth's Receiving Home, Clapham Common, c.1910. © Peter Higginbotham

The home often received gifts and donations from people and groups in the local area. In December 1924, girls from Stockwell College presented Christmas stockings to children at the home.

St Elizabeth's Receiving Home, Clapham Common, c.1924. © Peter Higginbotham

In the late 1920s, perhaps following the opening of the Receiving Home of St Peter and St Paul at Clapham Park, St Elizabeth's became a branch home for 30 boys aged from 7 upwards.

St Elizabeth's Home, Clapham Common, c.1929. © Peter Higginbotham

St Elizabeth's Home, Clapham Common, c.1931. © Peter Higginbotham

The home closed in 1935.

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.