St Aidan's Home for Boys, Whitley Bay, Northumberland

St Aidan's Home for Boys was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1901 at 4 Rockcliffe, on the main promenade at Whitley Bay. It could accommodate 15 boys aged from 7 to 10.

St Aidan's Home for Boys, Whitley Bay, c.1903. © Peter Higginbotham

A tragedy occurred at the home on 11th March, 1904. Patrick James Hardy, aged seven years, was passing through the kitchen and stopped to warm his hands at the range. An overall which he was wearing caught fire. He suffered from sever burns from which he later died. An inquest jury strongly recommended that fireguards should placed in all rooms at the home that contained fires.

St Aidan's, located in a rented property, was originally envisaged as a temporary home but the demand for places at the establishment soon led to plans for a larger, permanent home in the area. In 1906, all the Whitley Bay home's residents transferred to the new home at Tynemouth.

The former home now forms the leftmost section of the St Anne's apartment building.

Former St Aidan's Home for Boys, Whitley Bay, 2014. © Peter Higginbotham

Records

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.

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.