Nazareth House, Rednal, Worcestershire
A new Nazareth House, run by the Sisters of Nazareth, was opened in 1913 at Lickey Road, Rednal, providing accommodation both for the elderly poor and for destitute and orphan children — primarily Roman Catholic girls. The home was established after the space at the Sisters' Oxford premises had become inadequate, with temporary overflow provision then being made at a large house in Selly Park.
The new building was officially opened on July 30th, 2013, by the Bishop of Birmingham. It stood on a 30-acre site, around seven miles from the centre of Birmingham, and could house up to 200 children plus a limited number of old ladies. In the first instance, only the centre and left-hand portions of the architect's design were built, with the right-hand section left to be added when funds permitted. As it turned out, this part of the building was never constructed. A chapel was located to the west of the main building and a separate laundry block stood at the rear. The cost of the buildings, not including the land, was said to be around £13,000.
In June 1917, the home moved temporarily to Moseley College while the Rednal site was used as a hostel for girls employed as munition workers at the nearby Austin Motor Works, which was then engaged in war work.
The care of children at the home ended in 1985 and the establishment finally closed in around 1987. The buildings no longer survive and the site is now covered by modern housing.
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.
- Sisters of Nazareth Archive, Sisters of Nazareth Archive, Nazareth House, 169-175 Hammersmith Road, London W6 8DB. The archivist is Christine Hughes. The archive contains material from the very beginnings of the order in the 1850s up until the present day. The archive is not open to the public and does not have facilities for personal searchers, although exceptions can be made for Sisters and for academic researchers. Enquiries are welcomed by post only for privacy and confidentiality reasons and replies are by also letter. There is no fee for dealing with enquiries, although donations to the Sisters are appreciated.
- The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU.
File BN 62/1411 — Inspection reports [Access closed for 75 years]
File BN 62/2989 — Complaint regarding the treatment of a child
- Fothergill, Anne Memoirs of a Nazareth House Girl (2013, Quoin Publishing). Memories of the Middlesbrough Nazareth House.
- Gray-Wilson, Shirley It isn't Always Raining: Children in Care, 1939-1948 (2000). Life in the Carlisle and Newcastle Nazareth Houses.
- Kelly, Judith Rock Me Gently: A Memoir Of A Convent Childhood (2006, Bloomsbury). A memoir of life at Bexhill Nazareth House in the early 1950s. The factual veracity of this book has been challenged, and charges of plagiarism levelled against the author (e.g. see Catholic Herald 2/9/2005). The introduction to the current edition of the book acknowledges some of these criticisms.
- Reilley, Frances Suffer The Little Children: The True Story of An Abused Convent Upbringing (2009, Orion). Memories of the Belfast Nazareth House.
- Nuns 'abused hundreds of children' (Guardian article 16/8/1998)
- Sisters of No Mercy (Guardian article 1/4/2003)
- Compensation for care homes abuse (BBC News item 15/8/2006)
- Sisters of Nazareth become second Catholic order to admit to child abuse (Guardian article 14/1/2014)
- Children at Derry care homes were made to eat vomit, inquiry told (Guardian article 27/1/2014)
- A Time for Penance? (BBC Scotland 'Frontline' TV feature on abuse in Scottish Nazareth Houses)
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