The Shaftesbury Homes and Arethusa

New Homes for Old

In 1929, the Society took over the Newport Market Army Training School, founded in 1863 at Newport Market, Soho, to train poor boys for a career as military bandsmen. Under the Society's control, the school — then based at Orpington — was renamed The Newport Market Army Bands School.

Also in 1929, increasing structural problems with the building at the Sudbury Hall girls' home led to a search for new premises. The following year, the Society acquired Esher Place in Surrey, a large mansion set in ten acres of grounds. The property was large enough to also accommodate the girls from the Ealing home. Most of the £8,000 cost of converting Esher Place was raised by the sale of the Sudbury Hall and Ealing House properties. At around this time, the Royston establishment was turned into a home for young boys.

In 1935, following an approach from the 'National Society for the Protection of Young Girls (Princess Louise Home)', which was in financial difficulties, a merger was agreed between the two organisations. The girls' home was then renamed Esher Place (Princess Louise Home for Girls).

The venerable Arethusa also came to the end of the line in 1932 when it was condemned as unfit for further service. She was replaced by the Peking, a steel-hulled barque built in Hamburg in 1911. Renamed Arethusa, she was refitted at the Royal Dockyard, Chatham, and took up a new mooring on the River Medway at Upnor, near Rochester, in July 1933.

In 1937, the Fortescue House boys' home moved to larger premises, the former Police Orphanage in Twickenham, where the Newport Market Army Bands School could also be accommodated. The new establishment had the rather cumbersome official name of 'Fortescue House (incorporating the New Market Army Bands School)'.

Fortescue House, London Road, Twickenham © Peter Higginbotham