Ancestry UK

Belfast Ever Open Door, Belfast, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

In 1899, a Barnardo's 'Ever Open Door' receiving house was opened at 110 Great Victoria Street, Belfast. It was the eleventh such establishment to be set up in Britain's provincial cities and followed on from those already opened in Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Plymouth. The Ever Open Door houses, with their slogan 'No Destitute Child Ever Refused Admission', were open twenty-four hours a day and provided short-term shelter for homeless youngsters under the age of 16 while consideration was given to their future, which would generally be in a long-term Barnardo home or emigration to Canada.

Belfast Ever Open Door, early 1900s. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1911, the Ever Open Door relocated to new premises at 15-17 Crumlin Road, Carlisle Circus, Belfast, where twenty-four children could be accommodated. There was another move in 1918 to St George's Villa, 2 Holywood Road, Strandtown then again in 1924 to 106 Holywood Road. By 1937, it was operating at 114 Holywood Road then in 1940, following the outbreak of the Second World War, the children were evacuated to the Tubba Na Carrig home, Belfast.


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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)