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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Unit 25, Springfield House, 5 Tyssen Street, London E8 2LZ (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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