St Gabriel's Home for Girls (Roundhill Lodge), Kettering, Northamptonshire

In 1905, the Waifs and Strays Society opened a new home for girls at Roundhill Lodge, 21-23 Broadway, Kettering. It was established in response to a request from people in the town for a girls' home to complement the Society's home for boys in Leicester opened in 1892.

Roundhill Lodge, the former residence of Dr Leslie Dryland, was extended for its new role by the addition of a new wing. The home was formally opened on April 26th, 1906, by the Bishop of Leicester who conducted a brief service in a tent on the large lawn at the rear of the house. Although it initially retained the name Roundhill Lodge, the home was renamed the St Gabriel's Home for Girls in 1908.

St Gabriel's Home for Girls, Kettering, c.1906. © Peter Higginbotham

The home provided accommodation for 30 girls aged from 7 to 16. The house included a playroom, dining-room, kitchen, cloakroom, boot room, linen room, laundry and ironing room. A sitting room was provided for the matron and assistant matron. On the upper floor, there were four dormitories for the girls and a bedroom for the matron.

St Gabriel's Home for Girls, Kettering, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

St Gabriel's Home for Girls, Kettering, c.1909. © Peter Higginbotham

A new chapel was opened in April, 1913. It was dedicated to the memory of the Rev. Cecil Henry Maunsell who had made a substantial bequest to the home at his death in 1911.

New chapel at St Gabriel's Home for Girls, Kettering, 1913. © Peter Higginbotham

St Gabriel's Home for Girls, Kettering, 1913. © Peter Higginbotham

St Gabriel's Home for Girls, Kettering, c.1924. © Peter Higginbotham

St Gabriel's Home for Girls, Kettering, c.1928. © Peter Higginbotham

St Gabriel's Home for Girls, Kettering, c.1930. © Peter Higginbotham

As at many other of the Society's girls' homes, St Gabriel's played an active part in the local Girl Guides and Brownies. The picture below shows some of the girls in their uniforms during a visit from Dr Westcott, the Society's Secretary.

St Gabriel's Home for Girls, Kettering, c.1931. © Peter Higginbotham

St Gabriel's became a mixed home in 1947. It finally closed its doors in 1966.

St Gabriel's Home for Girls, Kettering, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

The property is now the Gabriel Court home for the elderly.

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.