Nazareth House, Southsea, Hampshire
A Nazareth House was established on February 5th, 1883, in a house known as Lynwood (or Linwood) on Wilson Grove, Southsea. It subsequently took over the adjacent house, Barnfield, to provide sleeping accommodation and a chapel. As was usual with Nazareth Houses, the home provided accommodation for the aged poor, and for orphan and destitute children — primarily Roman Catholic girls.
A report in February, 1888, noted that there were 66 children in residence, together with fifteen old women and two old men. A school-room, in Lynwood, was found to have 45 girls aged seven or above, with lessons taking place from 9.45 a.m. until noon and from 1 p.m. until 4.30 p.m. The older girls were given preparation for entering domestic service and received daily instruction in cookery. Others, who showed a fondness for children, were placed in the nursery to gain experience as nurses. The houses were very overcrowded.. Fourteen children slept in one small dormitory, and twelve in another. There were no bathrooms at the home.
A few weeks later, in April 1888, the home moved to purpose-built premises at Lawrence Road, Southsea. Designed by Leonard Stokes, the new building cost around £6,000. The home's intake was confined to girls form Hampshire, Berkshire, and the Channel Islands, and it could accommodate 160 girls aged from 2 to 15 years. A weekly payment was required for each girl, with the charged based on their circumstances.
The Lawrence Road property, now known as Brandon Court, was converted to flats in 1985.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.
- 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.
- 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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