Maurice Home for Girls, London / Ealing, Middlesex
The Maurice Home for Girls was established in around 1865 by the Rev. F Denison Maurice. It was initially based at 22 Charlotte Street, Portland Place, London, where it was certified as an Industrial School on May 4th, 1867, for the reception of twelve girls placed there by magistrates under the Industrial Schools Acts. The inmates were taught housework and needlework, and did the washing for the establishment.
In around 1874, the home took on additional accommodation at 41 Charlotte Street, where some of the older girls slept and which was also used for housing any cases of illness and for girls returning from situations. An official inspection in 1875 recorded 36 girls in residence, of whom 12 were under detention and 24 were there voluntarily. Conduct and discipline were noted as being 'very good generally' and the school as 'sensibly conducted and going on well'. Reading and spelling were 'good' and writing 'neat and careful'. The general matron, based at no. 41, was Mrs Pearson, with Miss Davey having charge of no. 22.
In 1899, the home began to be officially referred to as 'The Maurice Home' rather than just as 'The Home for Girls', its usual name up until then. In 1904, the home moved to new premises at 78 Hallam Street, Portland Place, where it was certified for the reception of 30 girls on July 12th, 1904. It moved again in 1907 to 7 Mattock Lane, Ealing, Middlesex, where it was certified as an Industrial school for 32 girls on January 19th, 1907.
In 1912, the home was taken over by the Waifs and Strays Society. After some alterations, the establishment re-opened, now housing aged 28 girls aged from 7 to 16. The home initially continued operating as an Industrial School although it relinquished that status in 1920.
The Maurice Home was possibly the first in the Society to have its own Girl Guides' Company. The picture below shows them being inspected by Princess Mary in Hyde Park in 1921.
In 1938, when war appeared imminent, the home was briefly evacuated to Eversholt House in Leighton Buzzard. When the Second World War eventually did break out, in September 1939, the girls were evacuated again to Grenville House at Ascot, which became their permanent home after the war.
In 1946, the Ealing premises became a toddlers' reception home, known as the Maurice House Home. It continued in use until its closure in 1972 when the residents were transferred to the Stildon Home at East Grinstead.
Of the home's surviving premises, 22 and 41 Charlotte Street are now both restaurants, while 7 Mattock Lane is in private residential use.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by surname.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by date of birth.
- The Children's Society Records and Archive Centre is at Block A Floor 2, Tower Bridge Business Complex, 100 Clement's Road, London, England SE16 4DG (email: email@example.com). Files for children admitted to its homes after September 1926 were microfilmed in the 1980s and the originals destroyed. Some post-1926 files had already been damaged or destroyed during a flood. The Society's Post-Adoption and Care Service provides access to records, information, advice, birth record counselling, tracing and intermediary service for people who were in care or adopted through the Society.
- The Society has produced detailed catalogues of its records relating to disabled children, and of records relating to the Children's Union (a fundraising body mostly supported from the contributions of children).
- 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.)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- 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.
- 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)
- Hidden Lives Revealed — the story of the children who were in the care of The Children's Society in late Victorian and early 20th Century Britain.
- The Children's Society
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.