Chester House, Clapton, London
In 1908, Barnardo's opened its Chester House home (sometimes referred to as the Hackney Home) at 77 Downs Park Road, Clapton, London E2. Initially, the home was used as temporary accommodation for boys and some girls awaiting emigration. However, it appears that it soon became a residential home for up to fifty girls below the age of 16.
One way of raisng funds for the home was by recycling tinfoil collected by the charity's supporters.
From 1914, the home was used for deaf, dumb and blind girls. In 1932, it was converted to an admission home for 'some of the most backward and neglected little folk' where the children learnt 'right behaviour and good conduct in a family setting'. The home attempted to distinguish those children who were, in the jargon of the day, 'mentally defective' from those who were mentally able but who had experienced severe social deprivation.
The home was closed during the Second World War and Barnardo's disposed of the property in 1950. The building no longer exists.
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.
- Barnardo's 'Making Connections' and Family History Services — for enquiries relating the records of children formerly in the care of Barnardo's and those of other organisations absorbed by them.
- Barnardo, Syrie Louise, and Marchant, James Memoirs of the Late Dr Barnardo (Hodder & Stoughton, 1907)
- Batt, J.H. Dr. Barnardo: The Foster-Father of "Nobody's Children" (S.W. Partridge, 1904)
- Bready, J. Wesley Doctor Barnardo (Allen & Unwin, 1930)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Rose, June For the Sake of the Children: Inside Dr. Barnardo's: 120 years of caring for children (Hodder & Stoughton, 1987)
- Wagner, Gillian Barnardo (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1979)
- The Barnardo's website.
- The Goldonian Website — memories and information from former Barnardo's children.
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.