Ancestry UK

Howard House, Bedford, Bedfordshire

In around 1928, the Howard House Barnardo's Home was opened at 17 Cardington Road, Bedford. The property, at that time known as Abbey Close, had previously been owned by the late Sir Frederick Howard, a Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire.

The home, which provided care for children with learning disabilities, was evacuated to other premises during World War Two. It finally closed in August 1969 and the premises are now occupied by Bedford Girls' School.

Former Howard House Barnardo's Home, Bedford, 2014. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Howard House Barnardo's Home, Bedford, 2014. © Peter Higginbotham

A notable inmate of the home was the novelist and playwright Frank Norman who arrived there as a seven-year old in 1937 and departed in 1941.


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  • Barnardo, Syrie Louise, and Marchant, James Memoirs of the Late Dr Barnardo (Hodder & Stoughton, 1907)
  • Batt, J.H. Dr. Barnardo: The Foster-Father of "Nobody's Children" (S.W. Partridge, 1904)
  • Bready, J. Wesley Doctor Barnardo (Allen & Unwin, 1930)
  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Rose, June For the Sake of the Children: Inside Dr. Barnardo's: 120 years of caring for children (Hodder & Stoughton, 1987)
  • Wagner, Gillian Barnardo (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1979)