St Katharine's Home for Girls, Southbourne, Hampshire

The St Catherine's (as it was originally spelt) Home at Soutbourne originated in around 1880 as an independent temporary home for girls in the Bournemouth Area. In June 1892, having become a Waifs and Strays Society establishment, it occupied a property known as Sandymount on Crescent Road (now Southbourne Overcliff Drive), Southbourne-on-Sea, formerly owned by a Mrs Williamson. The home could accommodate twenty girls aged from 8 to 12.

St Katharine's Home for Girls, Southbourne, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

St Catherine's Home for Girls, Southbourne, c.1902. © Peter Higginbotham

St Catherine's Home for Girls, Southbourne, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

Increasing concerns about erosion of the home's cliff-top grounds led to the decision to build a new home on Church Road, Southbourne. Constructions work started in 1914 but was delayed by the onset of the First World War and the home was only completed in 1920. The new building was formally dedicated Canon Daldy on June 4t, 1920, and was now known as St Katharine's. The home now could now accommodate 33 girls, aged from 7 to 16.

St Katharine's Home for Girls, Southbourne, 1920s. © Peter Higginbotham

St Katharine's Home for Girls, Southbourne, c.1923. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1929-30, in the run-up to the Society's golden jubilee, each of the homes received a visit from the charity's Secretary, Dr Westcott.

Dr Westcott at St Katharine's Home for Girls, Southbourne, 1929. © Peter Higginbotham

A chapel was added to the home in 1939.

By the early 1950s, the home had became mixed. It finally closed in around 1984.

The Crescent Road property no longer exist. The Church Road house is now in private residential use.

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.