Ancestry UK

St Michael's and St Gabriel's Orphanages, Woodside, Croydon, Surrey

St Michael's Orphanage was founded at Hatcham, New Cross, in 1872 by Father Arthur Tooth. Toot also established the Anglican order of the Community of Sisters of the Holy Paraclete and in 1879, the Sisters and the orphanage moved to Woodside, Croydon, where they took over a property known as Stroud Green House, on Lower Addiscombe Road.

The orphanage was intended to provide a home 'for Children of the Upper Classes only (professional men and others in a similar position) in distressed circumstances from loss of parents or reverse of fortune', with the loss of only one parent being sufficient to class them as orphans. Normally, candidates for admission had to be between six and nine years of age, although in its first years of operation, the home had a nursery department to house very young children.

St Michael' Orphanage, Woodside, Croydon, c.1900. © Peter Higginbotham

In 1884, a separate department for girls was added, known as St Gabriel's Orphanage.

Payment was required for those admitted to the establishment. In 1907, a fee of £2 2s. was payable on admission, then £5 5s. every 12 weeks. Solo choir boys were received free of charge, however. A certificate of good health was required, signed by medical man, and by friend or relative with whom the child had recently resided. A single vacation was taken each year of about five weeks, at the end of July. Subjects taught in the schoolroom included Latin, French, geometry, algebra, shorthand, music, etc.

In 1927, the orphanage, still run by Tooth, moved to Otford Court, near Sevenoaks, where it became St Michael's Preparatory School. The establishment is now a co-educational school with over 400 pupils.

Part of the Woodside building still survives, at the centre of what is now Ashburton Park.


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  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.



  • None identified at present.