Leeds Borough Council Homes

In 1930, following the abolition of the Leeds Poor Law Union, the Leeds City Council took over responsibility for the administration of poor relief in the city. This included the children's homes previously run by the union, which now came under the management of the council's new Public Assistance Committee.

The children's establishments inherited by the council included a group of five cottage homes at Rothwell, a number of scattered homes around the city, and the central home on Street Lane, Leeds.

Following the passing of the 1948 Children Act, councils were required to provide care services for all needy children in their area, especially those who lacked a normal family home. In common with other local authrities, the council established a new Children's Committee, whose responsibilities had previously been spread across separate Health, Education and Social Welfare Committees. In addition to two Approved Schools and a Remand Home, its housing stock at that date included two nurseries, seven children's homes ranging from a small home for eight girls to a mixed home accommodating fifty-six boys and girls, and a group of five cottage homes at Rothwell. Virtually all these premises were now overcrowded, inadequate, and in need of repair and adaptation.

Over the next eight years, a development programme resulted in the building of sixteen new family group homes, each accommodating eight children, spread across the city's new housing estates. Four larger properties were also purchased, and a former central home converted into a reception centre and short-stay home. The ageing Rothwell cottage homes, which had begun to be affected by mining subsidence, were closed.

Children's establishments run by Leeds Borough Council.

* indicates link to pages on www.workhouses.org.uk.


Surviving records for council-run children's homes are generally held in each council's own internal archives. Prior to 1991, however, when a legal requirement was introduced for councils to retain records of children leaving their care, the survival of such records is very variable. Contact details for local authorities in the UK can be found on the website of the Care Leavers Association (CLA). The CLA also provides guidance on accessing childhood care files, which are normally only open to the individuals they relate to.

Older records may sometimes be placed with the relevant county or borough record office. Many of these offices have online catalogues of their holdings and also contribute to the National Archives' Discovery database. Note that records containing personal data usually have access closed for a period of fifty years or more.

Older material relating to Leeds Council homes may exist at:

Some records relating to council-run homes, for example inspection reports, are held by The National Archives (TNA). Again, a closure period may apply to these records.