St Agnes' Home For Girls, Whitehaven, Cumberland

In 1905, Whitehaven's Orphan Home For Girls was taken over by the Waifs and Strays Society and became their St Agnes' Home. It provided accommodation for 18 girls, aged 11 to 13 at their time of admission.

The home's address is sometimes recorded as 1 Victoria Road, but by 1912 was usually being given as 1-2 Victoria Road. It is not clear whether it had always occupied the pair of houses or had subsequently expanded.

St Agnes' Home, Whitehaven, 2012. © Peter Higginbotham

Girls at St Agnes' Home, Whitehaven, 1905. © Peter Higginbotham

Initially, the home appears to have continued along its previous lines, with a weekly payment being requested for each girl. The girls were still occupied with needlework and knitting but laundry work had been dropped by 1912.

Girls at St Agnes' Home, Whitehaven, 1920. © Peter Higginbotham

Girls at St Agnes' Home, Whitehaven, 1927. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1930, St Agnes' received a visit from the Waifs and Strays' Secretary, Dr Westcott, who was touring every single home in the run-up to the Society's golden jubilee the following year.

Dr Westcott with girls and staff at St Agnes' Home, Whitehaven, 1930. © Peter Higginbotham

The home closed in 1938 with the girls being transferred to the St Margaret's Home at Nidd in Yorkshire which had just been refurbished.

The Victoria Road property still survives, now converted to private residential use.

Records

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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.