St Christopher's, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

St Christopher's, a Barnardo's training institution for its nursery staff, was opened in 1947 at Pembury Road, Tunbridge Wells. The establishment had previously been the privately run St Christopher's College, a nursery training institution where the fee-paying students looked after children many of whose parents were travelling or working abroad. When Barnardo's took over St Christophers, many of the children in residence had been wartime evacuees from London. Under Barnardo's tenure, the focus moved to housing single mothers and young children.

The location and layout of the St Christopher's is shown on the 1963 map below.

St Christopher's site, Tunbridge Wells, c.1963.

The accommodation on the site was expanded in 1972 with the opening of day-care units known as Ravensdale and Woodlands. However, the establishment was closed in 1976.

The property is now known as Willicombe Park, a residential retirement centre.


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.

  • Barnardo's Family History Service deals with enquiries regarding records of individual children — various services are available costing from £25 upwards.
  • Making Connections — a service for those wishing to access their Barnardo's adoption records.
  • Barnardo's historical administrative records are now deposited with Liverpool University's Social Welfare Archives with stringent restrictions on their access.
  • The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. File BN62/1295 — inspection reports (1949-60); BN62/1296 — nursery training (1962-74). [Access closed for 75 years]


  • Barnardo, Syrie Louise, and Marchant, James Memoirs of the Late Dr Barnardo (Hodder & Stoughton, 1907)
  • Batt, J.H. Dr. Barnardo: The Foster-Father of "Nobody's Children" (S.W. Partridge, 1904)
  • Bready, J. Wesley Doctor Barnardo (Allen & Unwin, 1930)
  • Rose, June For the Sake of the Children: Inside Dr. Barnardo's: 120 years of caring for children (Hodder & Stoughton, 1987)
  • Wagner, Gillian Barnardo (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1979)