Barrow in Furness Council Homes

In 1930, the Boards of Guardians, who had administered the poor relief system in England and Wales since 1834, were abolished and their responsibilities were taken over by county and county borough councils. Each council set up a Public Assistance Committee to oversee its new duties, which included the operation of the various children's establishments previously run by the poor law unions in each area. The Barrow-in-Furness Council took over the cottage homes on Roose Road, Barrow, formerly run by the Barrow Poor Law Union, where up to 72 children could be accommodated in the two pairs of semi-detached houses.

Roose Road Cottage Homes, early 1900s. © Peter Higginbotham

Following the passing of the 1948 Children Act, councils were required to provide care services for all needy children in their area, especially those who lacked a normal family home. In common with other local authorities,Barrow Council established a new Children's Committee, whose responsibilities had previously been spread across separate Health, Education and Public Assistance Committees. The Committee took over responsibility for the Roose Road cottage homes, whose capacity at that date was recorded as being 24 places. Presumably, the whole premises were no longer in use by then.

By 1952, the council had opened a residential nursery at Dunlop House, Abbey Road, Barrow. By 1954, an additional home had been opened at 115 Duke Street, Barrow.

The 1948 Act had recommended that where children needed to be in residential care, they should be in 'family group' homes, which ideally accommodated no more than eight children, or twelve at most. Barrow's first home to fit this description was the family group home on a new council housing estate at 15 Tyne Road, Barrow, opened in about 1958. Use of he Roose Road cottage homes ceased at the same time. A second family group home, at 14 Lesh Lane, Barrow, followed a year later.

As part of the local government reorganisation that took place in 1974, Carlisle's social services provision, including its children's residential care, was taken over by the new Cumbria County Council.

Composite list of children's establishments run (at some time in their history) by Barrow in Furness Council.

  • 115 Duke Street, Barrow-in-Furness
  • Family Group Home, 14 Lesh Lane, Barrow-in-Furness
  • Family Group Home, 15 Tyne Road, Barrow-in-Furness
  • Dunlop House Nursery / Reception Home, Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness
  • Family Group Home, Newbarns House, Hollow Lane, Barrow-in-Furness
  • Barrow Union/Council Cottage Homes, Roose Road, Barrow-in-Furness*

* indicates link to pages on www.workhouses.org.uk.

Records

The involvement of local authorities in the running of children's homes dates from 1930, when they took over the running of the poor relief system previously administered by Boards of Guardians. Surviving records for council-run children's homes may be held in each council's own internal archives. Prior to 1991, however, when a legal requirement was introduced for councils to retain records of children leaving their care, the survival of such records is very variable. Contact details for local authorities in the UK can be found on the website of the Care Leavers Association (CLA). The CLA also provides guidance on accessing childhood care files, which are normally only open to the individuals they relate to.

Locating local authority records has been complicated by the various local government reorganizations that have taken place in recent times, such as the abolition of the London County Council in 1965, and the major nationwide restructuring in 1974 in which many administrative areas were created, amended or eliminated.

Older records may sometimes be placed with the relevant county or borough record office. Many of these repositories have online catalogues of their holdings and also contribute to the National Archives' Discovery database. Note that records containing personal data usually have access closed for a period of fifty years or more.

Older material relating to Barrow in Furness Council homes may exist at:

Some records relating to council-run homes, for example inspection reports (though not resident lists etc.), are held by The National Archives (TNA). A closure period may apply to these records.

Bibliography