Ancestry UK

Exeter Ladies' Association Homes, Exeter, Devon

The Exeter branch of the Ladies' Association for the Care of Friendless Girls was established in 1879 to help girls in 'moral danger' and 'fallen' girls and women.

The Association was originally based at 20 Holloway Street, Exeter. A Preventive Home at the same address housed 7 girls aged from 11 to 15 who had not 'lost their character' were trained for domestic service. A payment of five shillings a week was requested for each girl placed in the home.

A separate Rescue (or Magdalen) Home for 'fallen' girls and women was set up at initially at 14 Friars' Walk, Exeter, later moving to 11 Friars' Walk. In 1903, the establishment moved to 32 Bartholomew Street East, Exeter, a property previously occupied by the St Olave's children's home run by the Waifs and Strays Society. The Rescue Home, which retained the name St Olave's, was officially opened by the Bishop of Crediton on July 22nd, 1903. It could accommodate fifteen women, with a weekly payment requested of six shillings for 'friendless and fallen women', or eight shillings for mothers and babies.

Later known as St Olave's Maternity Home, the establishment continued in operation until the 1970s.


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.

  • Devon Heritage Centre, Great Moor House, Bittern Road, Sowton Exeter EX2 7NL. Holdings include Admission registers (1880-1923) with a 100-year closure on access.


  • Irvine, E.D. A Century of Voluntary Service: The Exeter Diocesan Association for the Care of Girls (St. Olave's Trust) (in Transactions of the Devonshire Association, vol 113, 1981, pp.133-145)
  • None identified at present.