Harrow Home for Girls (St Saviour's), Harrow, Middlesex

The Waifs and Strays Society third home, the Harrow Home for Girls, was opened in 1883 by at 'Elmside', Headstone Drive, Harrow, then still quite a rural area. Initially accommodating 17 girls aged from 7 to 12, the house was gradually extended until it could hold 36. On the upper floors were ten bedrooms, two dressing rooms, and a bathroom room and washroom.

St Saviour's Home for Girls, Harrow, c.1884. © Peter Higginbotham

A large lawn behind the house provided a good playground. The kitchen garden, which contained some good fruit trees, could supply the home with vegetables for a considerable part of the year.

Oldest and youngest inmates of St Saviour's Home for Girls, Harrow, c.1884. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1890, the Society commissioned its architect, Mr Peach, to design larger, purpose-built premises for the home. The foundation stone for the building was laid on December 10th, 1890, by Mrs Creighton, standing in for her husband, the Bishop of London, who was seriously ill.

A lack of funds meant that progress on constructing the building was slow and its formal opening did not take place until July 16th, 1901, when the Bishop of Kensington officiated. The new home, at 47 Harrow View, Harrow, was renamed St Saviour's the following year. The house was three storeys high, including attics, and could house 32 girls aged from 5 to 16. The ground floor included a dining room and kitchen, recreation room and matron's room. On the upper floors, there were three dormitories for the girls, a bedroom each for the matron (Miss Tyte) and assistant matron (Miss Adamson), a sick room and a box room.

On 10th December, 1901, the home was accredited as a Certified School, allowing it to receive girls boarded out by the workhouse authorities.

St Saviour's Home for Girls, Harrow, 1901. © Peter Higginbotham

St Saviour's Home for Girls, Harrow, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

Off to School at St Saviour's Home for Girls, Harrow, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

Despite it being a girls' establishment, some pictures of the home appear to feature boys — perhaps having sisters there.

Bed-making at St Saviour's Home for Girls, Harrow, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

Dinner-time at St Saviour's Home for Girls, Harrow, c.1924. © Peter Higginbotham

St Saviour's Home for Girls, Harrow, c.1921. © Peter Higginbotham

St Saviour's Home for Girls, Harrow, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the home was evacuated first to Weedon in Northamptonshire, and then in 1940 to Ware in Hertfordshire, where boys were also housed. Following the war, the Harrow home resumed operation as a girls' home. From 1972 to 1975 it was used a hostel for teenagers, then became a mixed-age residential home until 1980. It subsequently provided residential care for children with learning disabilities, operating in alliance with Harrow Social Services.

The Harrow View building no longer exists and modern flats, named St Saviour's Court, now occupy the site.

Records

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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.