Miss Carr's Flatlets, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Miss Carr's Flatlets were opened in 1972 as an extension of Miss Carr's Children's Home, which was based at 5 Northbrook Road, Dublin. The idea for the Flatlets came from Miss Eccles, who was the manager of another children's home but was involved with Miss Carr's Home. Miss Eccles had become aware of the urgent need for accommodation for one parent families, so that mothers could be given an opportunity to bring up their children independently and to avoid, if possible, separation of mother and child in the early years. The proposal was taken up by the Home's committee and a large Edwardian house at 16 Northbrook Road was purchased and converted into nine flatlets. The first residents arrived in October 1972. Although Miss Carr's Home was a Protestant institution, the Flatlets were non-denominational.
The Flatlets were not intended as long-term residences but rather more as transitional, hostel-style accommodation. It was intended that the residents of the Flatlets would support themselves and, if unable to do so, would qualify for state Home Assistance. The Unmarried Mother's Allowance was introduced in 1973 and many of the residents would have qualified for this. Home Assistance was replaced by the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme in 1977. This scheme included provisions for the payment of Rent Supplement in appropriate cases. The heating and lighting costs were the responsibility of each resident, apart from the general areas (sitting-room, bathroom) and they paid a small rent. Individual electricity meters were installed in each flatlet in 1985 but the Annual Report notes that hot water was still provided free and there was a fire in the sitting room each evening. In 1976 a laundry room was installed at the back of the house.
Initially, the residents of the Flatlets were allowed free use of the nursery in their building. In 1977, the nursery was moved to the nearby Wesley House. In 1987, it was decided that new entrants to the Flatlets would pay £3 a week if using the nursery. The nursery was not used exclusively by residents of the Flatlets. It was used by local residents and when women left the Flatlets they sometimes continued to use the nursery for day care.
In 1973, the residents request to run a coffee evening was granted. The house must have had more than one television as the committee considered whether or not they needed another TV licence. The charity's Annual Report for 1976 notes that the Flatlets were now 'a much more accepted part of the community'. A coffee evening organised by the residents was supported by the local residents' association.
From 1977 to 1983 Miss Carr's had the use of a holiday home in Rush and there were annual holidays for the mothers and children. The 1978 Report refers to one carload of parents commuting to work each day from Rush. From 1983 onwards there were still annual holidays at mobile homes and caravans.
In 1992, the Flatlets were moved to 5 Northbrook Road, which was then renamed 'Ecclesville' in honour of Miss Eccles.
The Flatlets are still in operation
In January 2021, Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation made its final report, which included an examination of the operation of Miss Carr's Flatlets. Ana analysis of the Flatlets' records estimated that about 180 women and 200 children had lived there in the period 1972 to 1998. The average length of stay for mothers was approximately 428 days or 1.17 years. years.
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.
- Carr's Child and Family Services, 5 Northbrook Road, Ranelagh, Dublin D06 HP28, Ireland.
- Nicolson, Jill Mother and Baby Homes: a survey of homes for unmarried mothers (1968, Allen & Unwin)
- Redmond, Paul Jude he Adoption Machine: The Dark History of Ireland's Mother and Baby Homes and the Inside Story of How Tuam 800 Became a Global Scandal
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