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.

St Faith's Home for Girls, Torquay, c.1903. © Peter Higginbotham

St Faith's Home for Girls, Torquay, c.1907. © Peter Higginbotham

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.

Dolls at St Faith's Home for Girls, Torquay, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

St Faith's Home for Girls, Torquay, c.1925. © Peter Higginbotham

Children and 'Wilfred' at St Faith's Home for Girls, Torquay, c.1926. © Peter Higginbotham

A new matron at St Faith's Home for Girls, Torquay, c.1927. © Peter Higginbotham

St Faith's Home for Girls, Torquay, c.1929. © Peter Higginbotham

St Faith's Home for Girls, Torquay, c.1930. © Peter Higginbotham

St Faith's Home for Girls, Torquay, c.1934. © Peter Higginbotham

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.

Former St Faith's Home, Babbacombe Road, Torquay.

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.