St Mary's Home for Girls, Eastnor, near Ledbury, Herefordshire

St Mary's Home for Girls was established in 1884 by Lady Henry Somerset, of Eastnor Castle, in memory of her late father. The property, at Clencher's Mill Lane, Eastnor, near Ledbury, could accommodate twenty girls aged from 8 to 15 years, who were trained in laundry work, basketwork, and needlework. They also attending the local school and Sunday school.

St Mary's Home for Girls, Eastnor, c.1903. © Peter Higginbotham

In June 1900, Lady Somerset handed the running of the home over to the Waifs and Strays Society. In 1904, the capacity of the home was increase to 30 and extended to include baby girls.

St Mary's Home for Girls, Eastnor, c.1910. © Peter Higginbotham

St Mary's Home for Girls, Eastnor, c.1910. © Peter Higginbotham

In preparation for future employment as domestic servants, the older girls at St Mary's were taught a range of domestic skills and also helped in the home's kitchen and laundry.

Laundry girls at St Mary's Home for Girls, Eastnor, c.1913. © Peter Higginbotham

Saturday morning chores at St Mary's Home for Girls, Eastnor, c.1920. © Peter Higginbotham

Fire-drill roll-call at St Mary's Home for Girls, Eastnor, c.1920. © Peter Higginbotham

St Mary's Home for Girls, Eastnor, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

St Mary's Home for Girls, Eastnor, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

St Mary's became mixed in 1946. The home finally closed in 1983.

The property is now used as a care home for the elderly.

St Mary's Home for Girls, Eastnor, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

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.