Industrial Home for Orphan Girls / Killay House, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales

Swansea's Industrial Home for Orphan Girls was founded in around 1859 and for many years was based in premises on Northampton Lane (sometimes given as Northampton Place or Longland Place) in the middle of Swansea.

Killay House site, Swansea, c.1879.

In 1912, the home — by now referred to as the Swansea Home for Girls — could house forty-five 'orphan and friendless' girls aged 7 to 16 years. A payment of 2s.6d. per week was requested for girls from South Wales, or 5s. a week for those from elsewhere. The girls were trained for domestic service, with needlework being taught as a particular skill.

The location and cramped conditions of the home were causing increasing concern and the trustees of the charity that ran the institution began to look for new premises. In 1918, the local steel magnate and charitable benefactor, Roger Beck, presented them with a house called 'Brooklands', formerly the residence of William Talbot Rice, Vicar of Swansea. Rather then employ the house as new premises for the girls' home, the trustees sold it to Swansea Corporation in 1922. The proceeds from the sale were then used to acquire another property, Killay House, located at 365 Gower Road, in the Sketty district of Swansea. After its removal to Killay House, the home could accommodate up to 44 girls, with the age range now being from 4 to 14 years. The home was also certified by the Ministry of Health to take in girls who were in the care of Boards of Guardians or local councils. The location of Killay House is shown on the 1956 map below.

Killay House site, Swansea, c.1956.

In 1948, the trustees of the home offered it to the National Children's Home (NCH). Under its new management, Killay House housed thirty boys and girls living in family-style groups under the supervision of a Sister, or house-mother. George Thomas House, a hostel for young people leaving care, was later built in the grounds of the home.

Following NCH's disposal of the property, the buildings were demolished in 2006. The site is now covered by the modern houses of Millwood Gardens.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • Action For Children (formerly the National Children's Home) can provide access to care records for people who were adopted through the charity or who resided in one of its homes. Currently this service is only available to the individuals concerned and not to the descendents of deceased former residents.


  • Bradfield, William The Life of the Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson (1913, Kelly)
  • Curnock, Nehemiah The Story of the Children's Home (C.H. Kelly, 1901)
  • Horner, Francis Shadow and Sun (Epworth Press, 1920)
  • Philpot, Terry Action For Children (Lion, 1994)
  • Walpole, Cecil F. Golden Links (Epworth Press, 1941)