St Faith's Home for Girls, Torquay, Devon
The St Faith's Home for Girls was originally established as an independent home in around 1877. The home occupied premises on St Mary Church Road, Torquay, opposite what is now The York pub. The premises could accommodate 17 girls aged from 6 to 14 years. In 1890, a payment of five shillings a week requested for each girls placed at the home, although urgent cases could be admitted at reduced rates, or even free.
In 1896, the establishment was taken over by the Waifs and Strays Society. In 1901, the property — then referred to as 'Bartestree' — had 15 inmates aged from 5 to 14 years, with Annie Barton as Matron, assisted by Alice Tunks.
In 1919, the home moved to new premises at 426 Babbacombe Road, Wellswood, Torquay. It could then house 31 girls aged from 4 to 12 years at their time of admission.
St Faith's became a mixed home in 1947. The home was closed in 1965 when the house-father was taken seriously ill. It re-opened the following year to receive the children and staff from the Society's Droitwich home which was being closed. From 1972 onwards, St Faith's was used to provide short-stay accommodation for children placed by the local council. This eventually included young people 'beyond control' of their parents, and those leaving care. St Faith's finally closed in 1992 with the work it began evolving into the Checkpoint scheme in Torquay run by what is now the Children's Society.
The Babbacombe Road premises have now been converted to a number of private residences. The St Mary Church Road property had been demolished by 1950.
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.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by surname.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by date of birth.
- The Children's Society Records and Archive Centre is at Block A Floor 2, Tower Bridge Business Complex, 100 Clement's Road, London, England SE16 4DG (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Files for children admitted to its homes after September 1926 were microfilmed in the 1980s and the originals destroyed. Some post-1926 files had already been damaged or destroyed during a flood. The Society's Post-Adoption and Care Service provides access to records, information, advice, birth record counselling, tracing and intermediary service for people who were in care or adopted through the Society.
- The Society has produced detailed catalogues of its records relating to disabled children, and of records relating to the Children's Union (a fundraising body mostly supported from the contributions of children).
- 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.)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- 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.
- 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)
- Hidden Lives Revealed — the story of the children who were in the care of The Children's Society in late Victorian and early 20th Century Britain.
- The Children's Society
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