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.
The girls at the home attended the local church where they formed a significant part of its choir.
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.
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.
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 Unit 25, Springfield House, 5 Tyssen Street, London E8 2LZ (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). 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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