Fareham Industrial Home for Girls / St Edith's Home, Fareham, Hampshire

The Fareham Industrial Training Home for Girls was established in around 1866. It occupied a property on Wallington Shore Road, to the east of Fareham, and could accommodate 30 girls aged from 12 to 15 years of age. The girls were trained in laundry and needlework, to equip them for a future in domestic service.

In 1878, the running of the home was taken over by the Waifs and Strays Society and continued along the existing lines of operation. In 1889, a mark system was introduced which rewarded the girls with 1d or 2d for good performance and behaviour.

Fareham Home for Girls, c.1884. © Peter Higginbotham

Fareham Home for Girls, c.1893. © Peter Higginbotham

Girls, staff and donkey-cart at Fareham Home for Girls, c.1893. © Peter Higginbotham

Laundry work was the principal industrial occupation at the home, which had two wash-houses. The washing for twenty families in the area was carried out each week by the girls.

Fareham Home for Girls, c.1893. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1907, new premises for the home were erected alongside the existing building which was then demolished. The new building was opened by the Bishop of Southampton on July 19th, 1907, with the home thereafter being known as St Edith's.

1907 was also marked by the death of the Fareham Donkey. The animal had been resident at the home for many years and helped with the work of the establishment, such as carrying laundry. Fortunately, a replacement donkey was found to continue the tradition.

St Edith's Home, Fareham, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

Girls, matron, donkey and dog at St Edith's Home, Fareham, c.1909. © Peter Higginbotham

St Edith's Home, Fareham, c.1922. © Peter Higginbotham

St Edith's Home, Fareham, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

During the Second World War, the home was closed and the residents successively evacuated to Exeter, Paignton and Sampford Peverell. After the war it became a mixed home which continued in operation until the late 1960s.

The St Edith's site is now used as a hotel.

Former St Edith's Home, Fareham, 2015. © Peter Higginbotham


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.