St Aldhelm's Home Printing Works, Frome, Somerset

In around 1893, the Sunnyside Home for Boys at Frome, run by the Waifs and Strays Society, set up a printing facility. This allowed boys at the home to learn the trade of printing, and also provided a useful means for the Society to print its own publications, stationery, posters etc. Printing work was also done for outside organisations and businesses.

When the home moved to a new building at Oakfield Road, Frome, in 1898, a self-contained printing works was set up at the premises, now known as St Aldhelm's Home. Publications printed there were identified as coming from the 'St Aldhelm's Home Press'.

Printing works at St Aldhelm's Home, Frome, c.1923. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1923, the printing facilities was enlarged to make space for extra machines and to take on more apprentices.

Printing works at St Aldhelm's Home, Frome, c.1924. © Peter Higginbotham

Printing works at St Aldhelm's Home, Frome, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1926, St Aldhelm's received a group of five aspiring printers transferred from the Society's Gordon Home for Boys at Croydon.

Croydon boys at St Aldhelm's printing works, c.1926. © Peter Higginbotham

Although the St Aldhelm's home closed in 1951, the printing office continued in operation until 1962. The building was then adapted to become St Aldhelm's Hospital, providing care for the elderly. The building has now been converted into flats.

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.