Dulwich Home for Girls / Lampson Home, East Dulwich, London

The Dulwich Home for Girls was the first home ever to be established by the Waifs and Strays Society. It began life in 1882 in a six-bedroomed house at 8 Stamford Villas, Friern Road, East Dulwich, which could accommodate 12 girls aged from 7 to 14. The property, later known as 308 Friern Road, no longer exists.

In May 1884, the home moved to larger premises known as Baroda House at 62 Overhill Road, East Dulwich, where 25 girls could be housed.

Baroda House, East Dulwich, 1884. © Peter Higginbotham

On August 30th, 1887, the home was accredited as a Certified School, allowing it to receive girls boarded out by the workhouse authorities. Also in 1887, the Dowager Lady Lampson made a donation of £2,000 to the Society, of which £1,200 was used to pay off the mortgage on Baroda House. To mark this event, the home was renamed the Lampson Home. In 1900, the property could house 35 girls aged 8 to 14 years.

Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1895. © Peter Higginbotham

Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1903. © Peter Higginbotham

Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1931. © Peter Higginbotham

Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1897. © Peter Higginbotham

The girls at the Home attended the local elementary school. It was said that they had a particular interest in music and singing and enjoyed learning glees, carols and catches.

Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1897. © Peter Higginbotham

In preparation for future employment in domestic service, the girls were taught household duties and helped in the laundry and kitchen.

Laundry at Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1903. © Peter Higginbotham

Kitchen at Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1903. © Peter Higginbotham

Dining room at Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1903. © Peter Higginbotham

Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1920. © Peter Higginbotham

Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1928. © Peter Higginbotham

Summer holidays often included a visit to the seaside, sometimes in an exchange with another home. In 1924, the Lampoons girls visited Southbourne in Dorset.

Lampson Home girls at Southbourne, 1924. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1931, the Lampson Home marked the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. As part of the celebrations, girls from the home met the Society's found, Edward Rudolf, then almost eighty.

Lampson Home girls with Edward Rudolf, 1931. © Peter Higginbotham

Playing at weddings — Lampson Home, East Dulwich, c.1932. © Peter Higginbotham

The home finally closed in 1935 and the girls were transferred to new premises at Shipton-under-Wychwood in Oxfordshire.

In 1937-38, the new Rudolf Memorial and Special School for Girls was erected on the site of the old home.

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.