Kingsdown Orphanage (Mrs Ginever's Homes), London and Broadstairs

The Kingsdown Orphanage, which also became known as Mrs Ginever's Homes, was established in 1874 by Mrs Phoebe Ginever (1831-1894). Until at least 1880, the Orphanage was located at 12 Kingsdown Road, Islington.

By 1890, the institution occupied premises at 18-19 Pemberton Road, Upper Holloway. In the census of 1891, Mrs Ginever was listed as the resident Honorary Superintendent of the establishment, with Emily Kelly as Matron, Emily Firth as a Governess, Eliza Hatcher as Teacher, and Minnie Kelly as Assistant Teacher. There were 67 girls and 23 boys in residence. On May 22nd, 1904, a serious fire broke out the establishment. All the inmates escaped safely, but the building was greatly damaged.

By 1907, the Orphanage, now accommodating only girls, was listed as being at 35-37 Pemberton Gardens. By 1913, it was listed as being at 29 Pemberton Gardens and now used to accommodate 56 boys. A renaming of Pemberton Road to become part of Pemberton Gardens may account for at least part of these apparent moves. The Pemberton Gardens home remained in operation until at least 1927 but had closed by 1939.

In 1877, Mrs Ginever established a Home for Afflicted Orphans, i.e. those with physical disabilities, at 8 Tremlett Grove, Junction Road, Holloway. In 1881, the Matron of the Home was Mary Ann Spillett, assisted by Jenny Tiffin. In 1890, the Home had moved to new premises at Cuthbert House, Granville Road, Broadstairs. The Tremlett Road property was then used to house boys. In 1891, Jenny (or Jane) Tiffin had become matron of the establishment. The Tremlett Grove home had closed by 1913.

In 1890, the object of the Homes was stated as being 'To receive girls, who are clothed, maintained, and educated free of charge. (b) To receive orphans or fatherless children who are suffering from some kind of disease. Spinal complaints, paralysis, consumption, and cripples are the usual cases taken. (c) To provide a home for infants.' Admission was limited to those who had lost both parents, or who had widowed mothers too ill to work. All cases were thoroughly investigated, and the most deserving taken. There was no restriction as to age. The girls were trained for domestic service, and sent into families at the age of 16

In around 1910, a new 'Home for 70 Orphan Girls' was opened at 92-94 Hornsey Lane, Holloway. By 1920, a renumbering of properties on the road resulted in its address changing to 160-162 Hornsey Lane. It had also by now become mixed and accommodated up to 70 boys and girls. The Hornsey Lane Home was superintended by the former matron of the Tremlett Grove home, Jane/Jenny Tiffin, who apparently had a reputation as being rather tyrannical.

By 1939, the Orphanage's only premises were at 160-162 Hornsey Lane. During the Second World War, the building was taken over for use as a day nursery but returned to its previous function in 1946.

By 1956, the Orphanage had become known as the Kingsdown Home for Girls. It is thought to have finally closed in the late 1960s. Modern flats now occupy the Hornsey Lane site, although some of the other premises still stand.


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  • No records noted at present for this establishment — any information welcome.


  • None noted at present.
  • No surviving local records identified at present.