St Margaret's Home for Girls / Blanche Wimbridge Home, Penkridge, Staffordshire
The St Margaret's Home for Training Destitute Girls was founded in 1885 at Cuttlestone Cottage, Clay Street, Penkridge. As its name suggests, it took destitute girls between the ages of 5 and 14, and trained them for a future in domestic service. The home was certified for the reception of up to 20 pauper children placed by the Boards of Guardians who administered the poor relief and workhouse system. A payment of £13 a year was required for each girl, to be paid quarterly in advance. At admission, each girl also needed to be provided with three changes of linen and medical certificate required. The home provided each girl with an outfit when she left for service. Girls of bad character were not admitted.
In 1893, the running of the home was taken over by the Waifs and Strays Society and continued very much along its existing lines.
The location of the home is shown on the 1923 map below.
In 1923, the establishment was renamed the Blanche Wimbridge Home. It closed in 1931.
The building no longer survives.
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
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