Doncaster Girls Home and School of Industry, Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire

The Doncaster Girls Home and School of Industry was originally established in 1799 at French Gate, Friars Bridge, Doncaster.

In 1862, the home was refounded and subsequently came the management of Miss Beckett Denison of The Hall, Doncaster, who performed the role for more than thirty years. The establishment provided a home for 'female servants, orphans or children who have lost one parent'. The home was certified to receive girls placed there by the Boards of Guardians who administered the poor relief and workhouse system. A charge was made of four shillings a week for girls placed there by Guardians, while those supported by friends paid a slightly higher rate of £12 a year. The home could accommodate up to 30 girls aged from 10 to 15. They were trained in laundry work, needlework and knitting.

The location of the home is shown on the 1902 map below.

Doncaster Girls Home and School of Industry site, Doncaster, c.1902.

In 1901, the running of the home was taken over by the Waifs and Strays Society, becoming known as the Beckett Denison Home for Girls. It then housed around 20 girls, aged from 7 to 14. Miss Beckett Denison maintained an active interest interest in the school although withdrew from its formal administration.

Beckett Denison Home for Girls, Doncaster, 1902. © Peter Higginbotham

The home, which was located near the railway in a run-down part of Doncaster, was closed in 1905 owning to increasing concern about the girls' health. The residents moved to new premises know in the Balby area of Doncaster which became known as the St Christopher Home.

The French fate premises no longer exist.


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.


  • 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.