The Author

Hello, I'm Peter Higginbotham, the creator of this web site which, at the last count, contained almost 2000 web pages, over 3000 photos and illustrations, and nearly 400 maps and plans. It which began as a spin-off of my Workhouses web site. The large amount of material I had accumulated on various children's institutions was proving increasingly difficult to incorporate into the workhouses site so I decided give it its own separate site.

I was never in a children's home myself but do have a personal connection. After their father died, my mother and her twin sister were sent many miles away to live in a home run by nuns, while their mother struggled to bring up the other children in the family. My mother never talked much about the experience but, in retrospect, it had clearly affected her deeply.

Apart from compiling the web sites such as this one, I've written many books and articles, as well as contributing to radio and TV programmes, such as Radio 4's Making History and Tracing Your Roots, and BBC TV's Heir Hunters, Who Do You Think You Are?, Coming Home, Timeshift, and Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs . I also regularly present talks on subjects such as the workhouse — more information on my talks web page. Quite separate from my historical researches, I have written several pieces for the stage including Steam Radio (an affectionate parody of Brief Encounter) and Making Ends Meet (set in the world's most unsuccessful dating agency).

Some of my on-screen contributions can occasionally be viewed on YouTube (things do come and go, however). The link(s) below were available last time I looked:

In 2015, I had the honour of being awarded the Society of Genealogists' prestigious 'Certificate of Recognition' for my 'dedication in compiling extensive information on workhouses and children's homes and making it widely available.' The award was presented by Dr Nick Barratt in conjunction with my talk 'Welfare before the Welfare State' at Westminster, part of the parliamentary 'Festival of Freedoms'.

Receiving my SoG award from Dr Nick Barratt.

At Gressenhall workhouse with Mary Berry for BBC TV's Who Do You Think You Are?.

At Bristol workhouse with Neil Kinnock for BBC Wales' 'Coming Home'.

At York workhouse with Una Stubbs for BBC TV's Who Do You Think You Are?.

At Neath workhouse with Michael Sheen on BBC Wales' 'Coming Home'.

With John Humphrys for BBC Wales' Coming Home.

With Joanna Toye for BBC4's Britain's Oldest Family Businesses.

On location with Sam Womack for BBC TV's Who Do You Think You Are?.

This web site is dedicated to the memory of my mother,
Josephine Higginbotham.