St Michael's Home for Girls, Shipton under Wychwood, Oxfordshire

The St Michael's Home for Girls, at Milton Lane, Shipton under Wychwood, was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in April 1900, having relocated from its previous premises at Hemel Hempstead. The home was a certified Industrial School, receiving girls committed there by magistrates.

The new home, located in a former ladies' college, received its official opening and dedication by the Bishop of Reading on June 19th, 1900. The building initially accommodated 30 girls aged from 6 to 14. Its official capacity was increased to 36 in June 1904, and to 40 in May 1906.

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

St Michael's Home for Girls site, Shipton under Wychwood, c.1921.

St Michael's Home for Girls, Shipton under Wychwood, c.1908. © Peter Higginbotham

St Michael's Home for Girls, Shipton under Wychwood, early 1900s. © Peter Higginbotham

As at Hemel Hempstead, the girls received a basic education plus training in various domestic skills such as needlework, knitting, cookery, with the older girls also performing the duties of kitchen-maid and scullery-maid at the home. An official inspection in 1905 found that recitation and geography were 'good', singing was 'very fair', mental arithmetic 'poor', and knitting 'inferior'. A display of physical drill did not impress the inspector who judged the marching and walking as 'not satisfactory'.

St Michael's Home for Girls, Shipton under Wychwood, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

St Michael's Home for Girls, Shipton under Wychwood, c.1926. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1924, the home relinquished its status as an Industrial School and became one the Society's ordinary residential homes.

St Michael's Home for Girls, Shipton under Wychwood, c.1929. © Peter Higginbotham

St Michael's Home for Girls, Shipton under Wychwood, c.1930. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1930, the home switched to being a boys' home.

St Michael's Home for Boys, Shipton under Wychwood, c.1931. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1935, it reverted to use as a girls' home when the Society's Lampson Home at East Dulwich was closed and its residents transferred to Shipton under Wychwood.

St Michael's finally closed in 1938. The building no longer survives and housing now covers the site.

Records

Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.

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.