St Mary's Home for Boys, Runwell, Wickford, Essex

St Mary's Home for Boys, a Waifs and Strays Society home at Runwell, near Wickford, was opened in 1901 through the initiative of the Rector of the village, the Rev. H.K. Harris. The Rev. Harris, not only donated the land, but also designed the building and paid for its construction and furnishing. The house, which was which was erected in a field opposite the rectory, was a two-storey red-brick building with five bedrooms, a bathrooms, kitchen, and boys' play room. Outside there was a large playground. Mr and Mrs J. Sugden were appointed master and matron of the home, which could accommodate twelve boys aged from 7 to 12.

The boys at St Mary's were taught practical skills such as carpentry, gardening and poultry keeping. The were also to be trained as choir boys for the parish church. The Society contributed five shillings a week for the maintenance of each resident. Local people were also invited to sponsor a child by an annual donation of three pounds which would meet the cost of one boy's clothing.

The home closed in 1915. The property still exists, now used as residential and business premises.

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.