Chester House, Clapton, London
In 1908, Barnardo's opened it Chester House home (sometimes referred to as the Hackney Home) at 77 Downs Park Road, Clapton, London E2. Initially, the home is said to have been a hostel 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.
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 property 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 Family History Service deals with enquiries regarding records of individual children — various services are available costing from £25 upwards.
Making Connections — a service for those wishing to access their Barnardo's adoption records.
- Barnardo's historical administrative records are now deposited with Liverpool University's Social Welfare Archives with stringent restrictions on their access.
- 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)
- 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.