St Luke's Home for Boys, Burgess Hill, Sussex
St Luke's Home for Boys was established by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1901 at 2 Crescent Road, Burgess Hill, Sussex. The house taken for the purpose was the property of Mr W. Meeds and had previously known as Freshfield. It was converted for its new purpose under the direction of Mr S. Peach, architect. The official opening took place on October 18th, 1901, with a ceremony of dedication performed by the Archdeacon of Lewes, Robert Sutton. The master and matron were Mr and Mrs Pugh, with Miss Barton as assistant matron. The home initially accommodated 24 boys aged from 8 to 12, but its capacity was increased to 33 after building work in 1909.
The location of St Luke's is shown on the 1910 map below.
Boys at the home were expected to help with the household chores such as washing the dishes.
They also turned their hand to culinary crafts such as jam-making.
Outside activities such included football and cricket. The home had its own team that played other local sides.
Gardening was another popular pastime.
Falling numbers of children entering residential care, together with the threatened loss of the home's grounds for housing development, led to the home's closure in 1971. The staff and some of the boys were then transferred to the Hawk's Lease home at Lyndhurst.
The Crescent Road property no longer exists.
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.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by surname.
- Index of the Society's first 30,000 children's case files ordered by date of birth.
- The Children's Society Records and Archive Centre is at Block A Floor 2, Tower Bridge Business Complex, 100 Clement's Road, London, England SE16 4DG (email: email@example.com). Files for children admitted to its homes after September 1926 were microfilmed in the 1980s and the originals destroyed. Some post-1926 files had already been damaged or destroyed during a flood. The Society's Post-Adoption and Care Service provides access to records, information, advice, birth record counselling, tracing and intermediary service for people who were in care or adopted through the Society.
- The Society has produced detailed catalogues of its records relating to disabled children, and of records relating to the Children's Union (a fundraising body mostly supported from the contributions of children).
- Bowder, Bill Children First: a photo-history of England's children in need (1980, Mowbray)
- Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society [Rudolfe, Edward de Montjoie] The First Forty Years: a chronicle of the Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society 1881-1920 (1922, Church of England Waifs and Strays' Society / S.P.C.K.)
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Morris, Lester The Violets Are Mine: Tales of an Unwanted Orphan (2011, Xlibris Corporation) — memoir of a boy growing up in several of the Society's homes (Princes Risborough, Ashdon, Hunstanton, Leicester) in the 1940s and 50s.
- Rudolf, Mildred de Montjoie Everybody's Children: the story of the Church of England Children's Society 1921-1948 (1950, OUP)
- Stroud, John Thirteen Penny Stamps: the story of the Church of England Children's Society (Waifs and Strays) from 1881 to the 1970s (1971, Hodder and Stoughton)
- Hidden Lives Revealed — the story of the children who were in the care of The Children's Society in late Victorian and early 20th Century Britain.
- The Children's Society
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.