Ancestry UK

Carter Home, High Street, Clapham, London

The Carter Home for Destitute Boys was founded in 1870 at 65 High Street, Clapham, London SW4. In 1889, the home was also making use of additional premises at 52 High Street.

Carter Home, 65 High Street, Clapham.

In the 1880s, the home had approximately a hundred places for boys aged 7 to 16. No charge was made for taking in destitute boys but payment was required for the children of "depraved parents". The older boys attended a night-school on the premises, with the younger ones going out to a nearby day school. Boys were trained in skills such as boot and shoe making, basket and hamper making, and chair caning. They were also available to be engaged by local businesses by the hour, day or week as errand/messenger boys or for cleaning knives or boots. The chopping and delivery of firewood generated useful funds for the home. Annual subscriptions were also an important part of its income.

Carter Home, receipt for annual subscription.

In the 1890s, the home moved to 49 Clapham High Street, a property that since 1856 had been used by a Roman Catholic School, St Joseph's College.

Carter Home, Clapham, early 1900s.

Carter Home (detail), Clapham, early 1900s.

In 1902, with the capacity of the home now put at 150, the home was taken over by Barnardo's. Many of the boys who now lived at the home were despatched to Canada under Barnardo's emigration programme.

Carter Home site, 49 High Street, Clapham, c.1916.

Carter Home rear yard, Clapham, from the south-east, c.1907.

In 1933, the home was relocated to new premises at Kingston-upon-Thames. The property at 49 High Street, Clapham, later became a spice store and then a printing works. In more recent times its interior has been a popular photographic location.

49 Clapham High Street.


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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)