Ernest Bailey Nursery and Unit for Disabled Children, Matlock, Derbyshire

In 1949, the Waifs and Strays Society opened the Ernest Bailey Nursery on what is now Butts Drive, Matlock. The nursery was located in a large house known as The Butts, the former residence of local mill owner Ernest Bailey. From 1901 until his death in 1938, Bailey had given the Society the use of another nearby property, Cliffe House, where the St Andrew's Home for Boys had operated. He had then bequeathed Cliffe House to the Society with the sum of £1,000 for the benefit of the home. Why the new nursery was established at The Butts rather than at Cliffe House is unclear, although The Butts had already been used during the Second World War as an evacuation home for boys from Moseley.

The Ernest Bailey Nursery was officially opened on May 10th, 1949, by the Marchioness of Hartington and dedicated by the Bishop of Derby, Dr A.E. Rawlinson. The nursery housed 24 children up to the age of five.

In 1972, the home added a unit for physically disabled children aged up to seven years. The establishment also changed its name to Ernest Bailey House.

The property is now a private residence.


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.

  • The Children's Society Records and Archives Centre is at Edward Rudolf House, Margery Street, London, WC1X 0JL (email: 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).
  • Derbyshire Record Office, New Street, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 3FE. (Postal address: County Hall, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 3AG.) Holdings: Administrative records relating to Ernest Bailey House; Minutes of the Derbyshire Dales Committee for the Children's Society, formerly Friends of Ernest Bailey Nursery (1961-2009).


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