Ancestry UK

Orphan Girls' Home, Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire

The idea for Bradford's Orphan Girls' Home (also known as the Bradford Industrial Home for Orphans and Deserted Girls) was proposed in 1864 by five members of the Workhouse Visiting Society, to help 'friendless girls' residing in workhouses. The scheme became a reality in 1865 when a small house was taken in Roberts Place, initially with just three girls. Four more were added in the course of the first year, and a larger house was taken at 23 Brunswick Place, with the number of inmates gradually rising to twenty. The home was originally intended just for workhouse girls, but the committee subsequently decided to admit, on payment, a few girls who were orphans but who had never been inmates of a workhouse.

In 1866, a disastrous explosion at the Oaks Colliery, near Barnsley, resulted in a number of children being left fatherless. Eight girls were admitted from Barnsley in 1867, with others following later. By the start of 1871, forty-two girls had been received into the Home whose ages ranged from 8 to 18 years. Of these, seventeen had lost one parent, twenty had neither father nor mother, and the rest were deserted children. Half of them came direct from the Bradford workhouse, thirteen from Barnsley, and the remainder were sent and paid for by friends.

On 28 February 1868, the establishment was licensed to operate as a Certified School, allowing it to receive girls boarded out by the Poor Law authorities.

By 1870, it was clear that larger premises were needed, which would include accommodation for girls out of place, and for any who might fall ill. A fund-raising effort was launched for the £3,000 required to build new premises. The new home was formally opened on April 14th, 1871, at 230 Manningham Lane (later renumbered as 24 Keighley Road), Bradford. The home could accommodate 32 girls, aged from 5 to 8 at their date of admission. A payment of three shillings a week was required for girls from Bradford, or seven shillings a week from elsewhere.

Orphan Girls Home, Bradford, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

All the girls were prepared for a future life in domestic service. Their training included baking and bread making, laundry work, needlework, knitting and dressmaking.

On 3 February 1880, the Manningham Lane premises were licensed to operate as a Certified School.

In 1926, the running of the home was handed over to the Waifs and Strays Society who re-opened it as their St Hilda's Home for Girls.

The Manningham Lane building is now in private residential use.


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