St Christopher's Home for Babies, Burley, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire

The St Christopher's Home for Babies was opened as a Diocesan Home for Babies in around 1917 at St Ann's Lane, Burley, Leeds. On July 1st, 1928, the Waifs and Strays Society took over management of the home which appears to have been struggling to stay open. An official re-opening by Princess Mary Viscount Lascelles took place on August 24th, with the Archdeacon of Pontefract conducting a ceremony of dedication. On a tour of the building the Princess enquired why some of the children were kept in cots. She was told that it was because they were being treated for rickets.

Re-opening of St Christopher's Home for Babies, Leeds, 1928. © Peter Higginbotham

Under its new management, St Christopher's provided 30 places for motherless, homeless or illegitimate children aged from 1 month to 2 years.

St Christopher's Home for Babies, Leeds, c.1929. © Peter Higginbotham

St Christopher's Home for Babies, Leeds, c.1932. © Peter Higginbotham

St Christopher's Home for Babies, Leeds, c.1932. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1929, the building, which already had its own laundry block, had new bathrooms fitted. In the same year, the home installed a specially designed "violet ray" lamp for gently bathing babies in ultra-violet rays and radiant heat.

Violet ray treatment at St Christopher's Home for Babies, Leeds, 1930. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1934, the generally poor condition of the building and the imminent end of its lease led to the closure of the home and the transfer of the residents to the Beckett Home for Babies a few miles away at Meanwood.

Former St Christopher's Home for Babies, Leeds, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

The property was later used as a YWCA hostel. It is now used as student accommodation.

Former St Christopher's Home for Babies, Leeds, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

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.