Doncaster Council Homes
In 1930, following the abolition of the Doncaster Poor Law Union, the Doncaster Borough Council took over responsibility for the administration of poor relief in the city. This included the workhouse and other premises previously used by the union, which now came under the management of the council's new Public Assistance Committee.
The homes initially operated by the council are listed below. It is not clear if any of these had previously been run by the Doncaster Union.
|Stanley House, Tickhill Road||33|
|Windermere House, High Road, Balby||12|
|1-3 Ashfield Road||24|
|17-19 Furnival Road||22|
The homes at 1 and 3 Ashfield Road adopted the names Ashfield House and Datchelor House, respectively. Likewise, 17 and 19 Furnival Road were named Bardon House and Howden House.
Following the passing of the 1948 Children Act, councils were required to provide care services for all needy children in their area, especially those who lacked a normal family home. In common with other local authorities, the council established a new Children's Committee, whose responsibilities had previously been spread across separate Health, Education and Social Welfare Committees. Under the new regime, residential care was seen as the least desirable option for children in care, but when it was employed, the recommended size of home was eight children, or twelve at most.
By 1956, Windermere House had closed and the Rosemead residential nursery opened at May Avenue, Doncaster.
By 1968, the Ashfield Road and Furnival Road homes had been replaced by new establishments at 88 Ascot Avenue, Cantley, and at 34 and 56 Goddison Boulevard, Doncaster, each of which provided eight places.
In 1971, local authority children's departments were absorbed into their new social services departments. Following the local government reorganisation that took place in 1974, the new Wakefield Metropolitan District Council took over several homes that had previously been run by the West Yorkshire County Council.
The council's children's establishments in operation in 1975 are listed below. Those taken over from West Yorkshire are indicated by an asterisk.
|167 Amersall Road, Scawthorpe*|
|88 Ascot Avenue, Cantley|
|4 Cromwell Drive, Sprotborough*|
|34 Goodison Boulevard, Cantley|
|56 Goodison Boulevard, Cantley|
|Hostel for Adolescents, 1 Croasdale Gardens, Carcroft|
|14 Morrison Drive, Rossington*|
|69 Pinewood Avenue*|
|Rosemead, May Avenue, Balby|
|85 Shaftesbury Avenue, Woodlands|
|41 Stonehill Rise, Scawthorpe*|
|Stanley House, Tickhill Road|
|Wyndthorpe Hall Nursery, Thorne Road, Dunsville*||24|
By 1984, a number of closures had taken place, including Ascot Avenue, Cromwell Drive, Goodison Boulevard, Shaftesbury Avenue, Rosemead, Stanley House, and Wyndthorpe Hall. The one new home was at Don View, at Thellusson Avenue, Scawsby.
Composite list of children's establishments run (at some time in their history) by Doncaster Council.
- 85 Shaftesbury Avenue, Woodlands, Adwick-le-Street§
- 69 Pinewood Avenue, Armthorpe§
- Ashfield House, 1 Ashfield Road, Doncaster
- Hostel for Adolescents, 1 Croasdale Gardens, Carcroft, Doncaster
- Stanley House Receiving Home, 11 (later 18) Tickhill Road, Doncaster
- Bardon House, 17 Furnival Road, Doncaster
- Howden House, 19 Furnival Road, Doncaster
- Datchelor House, 3 Ashfield Road, Doncaster
- 34 Goodison Boulevard, Cantley, Doncaster
- 56 Goodison Boulevard, Cantley, Doncaster
- 88 Ascot Avenue, Cantley, Doncaster
- Windermere House, 9 High Road, Balby, Doncaster
- Rosemead Residential Nursery, May Avenue, Balby, Doncaster
- Wyndthorpe Hall Residential Nursery, Thorne Road (now High Street), Dunsville
- 14 Morrison Drive, Rossington§
- Don View, 22 Thellusson Avenue, Scawsby
- Home for Mentally Handicapped Children, Newlands, 20 Avenue Road, Scawsby
- 167 Amersall Road, Scawthorpe†
- 41 Stonehill Rise, Scawthorpe§
- 4 Cromwell Drive, Sprotborough†
† indicates homes at some time also run by a county council.
§ indicates homes at some time also run by a borough council.
The involvement of local authorities in the running of children's homes dates from 1930, when they took over the running of the poor relief system previously administered by Boards of Guardians. Surviving records for council-run children's homes may be held in each council's own internal archives. Prior to 1991, however, when a legal requirement was introduced for councils to retain records of children leaving their care, the survival of such records is very variable. Contact details for local authorities in the UK can be found on the website of the Care Leavers Association (CLA). The CLA also provides guidance on accessing childhood care files, which are normally only open to the individuals they relate to.
Locating local authority records has been complicated by the various local government reorganizations that have taken place in recent times, such as the abolition of the London County Council in 1965, and the major nationwide restructuring in 1974 in which many administrative areas were created, amended or eliminated.
Older records may sometimes be placed with the relevant county or borough record office. Many of these repositories have online catalogues of their holdings and also contribute to the National Archives' Discovery database. Note that records containing personal data usually have access closed for a period of fifty years or more.
Older material relating to Doncaster Council homes may exist at:
- Doncaster Archives, King Edward Road, Balby, Doncaster DN4 0NA.
Some records relating to council-run homes, for example inspection reports (though not resident lists etc.), are held by The National Archives (TNA). A closure period may apply to these records.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- Urquhart, Gloria (2020) Nobody's Child: The True Story of Growing up in a Yorkshire Children's Home
- Cooke, Allan Institutionalized in a Children's Home: Skellow Hall 1950-1963 — a true story of a child and children in a home (2012, Authorhouse)
- Cummings, Les Forgotten: The Heartrending Story of Life in a Children's Home
- Limbrick, Gudrun The Children of the Homes: a century of Erdington Cottage Homes
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.