Newton Hall, Frodsham, near Warrington, Cheshire

Newton Hall was opened by the National Children's Home (NCH) in 1903 at Kingsley Road, Frodsham, near Warrington. The home had its origins in a gift to the Home of £20,000; by Miss Mary Fowler of Liverpool which was used to buy the property which comprise a hundred acres of land and two houses — Newton Hall and Springside Villa.

The first residents, placed in Springside Villa, were three boys transferred from the Edgworth home. There were followed soon afterwards by eight girls from Bonner Road who moved into Newton Hall itself. Three or four years later, several new houses were erected and a further gift was received of a seventy-five acre farm. The home could eventually house three hundred children.

Newton Hall, Frodsham, early 1900s

The main part of the Newton Hall site was organised as a "cottage homes" layout in the style of a self-contained village, with the children's houses arranged around a large green. Houses for boys were at one side of the circle and girls at the other. The house blocks were sub-divided into four flats each accommodating eight children under the supervision of a staff "Sister". The children's houses were supplemented by a chapel, community hall, laundry and an administration block, with a hospital in Newton Hall. Other houses were later added farther away from the green. In 1910, there wer six houses in operation and a total of 190 children at the home; by 1928, this had risen to ten houses and 306 children; by 1933, there were twelve houses accommodating up to 350 children.

The layout of the home is shown on the 1960s map below.

Newton Hall site, Frodsham, c.1962.

Newton Hall, Frodsham — aerial view from the north-east, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

Newton Hall — children's flats, Frodsham, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Newton Hall — children's flats, Frodsham, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

The home ran its own elementary school which was taken over by the County Council in 1930 and renamed the Kingsley and Newton Temporary Council School. It closed in 1932 when new the Kingsley and Newton Council School was built.

Newton Hall — chapel and clock tower, Frodsham, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Newton Hall — children on chapel steps, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

Newton Hall children, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

'Babies Castle' at Newton Hall, Frodsham, early 1900s. © Peter Higginbotham

Newton Hall — children's flats, Frodsham, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Newton Hall — children's flats, Frodsham, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Boys at the home were taught the skills of farming, gardening and bootmaking. Girls were prepared for domestic service, laundry work and nursing

Boys ploughing at Newton Hall, Frodsham, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

Toy making at Newton Hall, Frodsham, early 1900s. © Peter Higginbotham

Newton Hall — Stephenson House, Frodsham, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1933, two new blocks were erected alongside the main road. Stephenson House became the home's administrative department, while Springside was a hospital block.

Newton Hall — Stephenson House, Frodsham, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Newton Hall — Springside hospital block, Frodsham, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1943, a nursery was established in some houses in the Netherton area of Frodsham. In 1963, Springside was converted to a nursery and adoption centre; this role ended in 1970 when it became a training centre for nursery nurses.

The children's daily routine began at 6.30am and before breakfast various household chores were carried out such cleaning the dormitories, toilets and stairs, helping in the kitchen, and ensuring that the young children were washed and dressed. A short service took place in the chapel at 8am, with the boys seated at one side and girls on the other. From 1932, most of the children attended the local council-run schools.

The food provided at the home was fairly basic. Breakfast consisted of bread and milk or porridge and a mug of cocoa. Dinner offerings included stew, fish or cold meat and vegetables followed by rice pudding or 'figgy duff'. For tea, there was bread and margarine with jam or golden syrup and a mug of cocoa, with a cake or bun and weak tea on Sundays. A breakfast treat on Good Friday was a boiled or poached egg and a toasted bun, while birthdays were celebrated with a small sausage roll.

From December 1981 until May 1982, part of the home was occupied by 32 refugee Vietnamese 'boat people'.

In the early 1980s, falling numbers of children being placed in long-term residential led to the disposal of some of the peripheral buildings at the site and the eventual final closure of the home in August 1985. A commemorative plaque now stands at the edge of the green.

Newton Hall — commemorative plaque, Frodsham, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

The buildings have now been converted to private residential use.

Records

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.

  • Action For Children (formerly the National Children's Home) can provide access to care records for people who were adopted through the charity or who resided in one of its homes. Currently this service is only available to the individuals concerned and not to the descendents of deceased former residents. Has school log book (October 1919 - October 1932) Archive reference SL319/1.

Bibliography

  • Urey, Gary The Newton Hall Story (1985, privately published)
  • Bradfield, William The Life of the Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson (1913, Kelly)
  • Curnock, Nehemiah The Story of the Children's Home (C.H. Kelly, 1901)
  • Horner, Francis Shadow and Sun (Epworth Press, 1920)
  • Philpot, Terry Action For Children (Lion, 1994)
  • Walpole, Cecil F. Golden Links (Epworth Press, 1941)

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