Ancestry UK

Hilton Grange, Bramhope, near Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire

In 1907, the National Children's Home (NCH) opened Hilton Grange — its first Yorkshire establishment — at Old Lane, Bramhope, near Leeds. It resulted from a gift to the charity by Mr and Mrs S.T. Fawcett of the Old Homestead, Grange Farm and eighty acres of land.

Like the NCH's Princess Alice Orphanage and Frodsham Home, Hilton Grange adopted the 'cottage homes' layout with a number of 'family group' house blocks arranged around a central green. Construction of the houses was carried out in an anti-clockwise order. The map below, which dates from around 1919 shows the first two blocks, separated by the school building (now demolished).

Hilton Grange site, Bramhope, c.1919.

First house block at Hilton Grange, Bramhope, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Second house block at Hilton Grange, Bramhope, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

A map from around 1932 shows the circle of houses complete.

Hilton Grange site, Bramhope, c.1932.

The block at the north side of the green no longer exists but is probably the one visible in a photo (below) of an opening ceremony on June 14th, 1913.

Opening ceremony for new houses at Hilton Grange, Bramhope, 1913. © Peter Higginbotham

Continuing anti-clockwise, the two blocks of houses along the west of the green were respectively named the Butterfield Homes and the Bradford and District House.

Butterfield Homes, Hilton Grange, Bramhope, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Bradford and District House, Hilton Grange, Bramhope, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

A smaller house at the south-west corner of the green bears the date 1921.

Hilton Grange, Bramhope, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

Hilton Grange Rockery, Bramhope, date unknown. © Peter Higginbotham

Hilton Grange, c.1939. © Chris Hiley

Hilton Grange, c.1939. © Chris Hiley

Hilton Grange, c.1939. © Chris Hiley

In 1957, Hilton Grange became a residential special school for 120 'educationally subnormal' children. The map below from around 1963 shows that the home's former water reservoir was now being used as a swimming pool and had been joined by a paddling pool and tennis court.

Hilton Grange site, Bramhope, c.1963.

General view of Hilton Grange from the south-east, Bramhope, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1963, a house called Four Winds stood at the east side of the site's entrance driveway, with the old Grange farm buildings at the west side. The latter have mostly been demolished although one section survives now in residential use.

Old farmhouse, Hilton Grange Bramhope, 2013. © Peter Higginbotham


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • Action For Children (formerly the National Children's Home). Can provide access to their own records for individuals who were adopted through the charity or who resided in one of its homes. Help also for those searching for family history information.


  • Bradfield, William The Life of the Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson (1913, Kelly)
  • Curnock, Nehemiah The Story of the Children's Home (C.H. Kelly, 1901)
  • Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain's Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
  • Horner, Francis Shadow and Sun (Epworth Press, 1920)
  • Howard, Philip J Philip: a Strange Child (Dalkeith Publishing, 2007)
  • Philpot, Terry Action For Children (Lion, 1994)
  • Walpole, Cecil F. Golden Links (Epworth Press, 1941)