St Agatha's Home For Girls, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire

St Agatha's Home For Girls, a Waifs and Strays Society home, was opened by the Lord Mayor of London on July 27th 1909, at 10 Queen's Road, Princes Risborough. Mrs Emily Bardolph, the widow of The Rev. Reginald Bardolph, a former Rector of the town, had donated the property and £500 towards the building of its new Bardolph Memorial Wing, in memory of her late husband. The home accommodated 30 girls between the ages of 5 and 16.

The location of the home is shown on the 1921 map below.

St Agatha's Home For Girls site, Princes Risborough, c.1921.

St Agatha's Home For Girls, Princes Risborough from the south-west, c.1910. © Peter Higginbotham

St Agatha's Home For Girls, Princes Risborough, c.1913. © Peter Higginbotham

St Agatha's Home For Girls, Princes Risborough, c.1929. © Peter Higginbotham

St Agatha's Home For Girls, Princes Risborough, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

The girls at the home attended the local church where they formed a significant part of its choir.

Girls off to church, St Agatha's Home For Girls, Princes Risborough, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

The home had its own laundry where the girls' clothes and household line were washed. The work also served as a useful preparation for any who went into domestic service.

Laundry lecture at St Agatha's Home For Girls, Princes Risborough, c.1913. © Peter Higginbotham

Laundry at St Agatha's Home For Girls, Princes Risborough, c.1923. © Peter Higginbotham

St Agatha's Home For Girls, Princes Risborough, c.1929. © Peter Higginbotham

A visit by the Society' Secretary, Dr A.J. Westcott, to Princes Risborough, 1929. © Peter Higginbotham

Girls from St Agatha's maypole dancing in Market Square, Princes Risborough, c.1935. © Peter Higginbotham

From 1942 to 1946, the home was used as a nursery for under-fives. It then re-opened as a girls' home, taking the staff and children from the Society's St Oswald's, near Kendal, which was then closed. By the mid-1950s, however, St Agatha's had become a mixed home. By the 1970s, its residents included some with disabilities as part of the Society's moves to make its homes more integrated.

In the early 1980s, the home began to specialise in the care of older children, a venture that was known the Ridgeway Specialist Teenage Project. The establishment finally closed in 1996.

The property no longer survives and a modern house now occupies the site.

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.