Ancestry UK

Ever Open Door, Brighton, Sussex

In 18992, Dr Barnardo opened an 'Ever Open Door' receiving house at 29 Devonshire Place, Brighton. It was the twelfth such establishment to be set up in Britain's provincial cities and followed on from those already opened in Bath, Belfast, 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 while consideration was given to their future, which would generally be in a long-term Barnardo home or emigration to Canada.

The Devonshire Place Ever Open Door could hold up to twenty-five children, with 15 being the upper age limit for admission. It appears to have ceased operating by 1920.

Former Brighton Ever Open Door, Devonshire Place, 2018. © Peter Higginbotham

The property is now in residential use.

In 1940, the former Syndal convalescent home at Hove became an Ever Open Door.


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.


  • 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)