St Catherine's Home, Hampstead, London
The St Catherine's Home was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1926 at Homesfield, Erskine Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb. It replaced the previous St Catherine's Home at Stroud Green. The new home was formally opened on April 28th, 1926. The occasion was marred by heavy rain, the indisposition of Dame Henrietta Barnet, who had been due to open the home, and the absence of the Bishop of London, who was intended to perform the dedication. The Bishop's place was taken by the Rev. B.G. Bourchier, vicar of the parish of St Jude's on the Hill.
St Catherine's could accommodate 27 girls, aged from 7 to 16. In addition to the Stroud Green girls, the new home received the residents of the St Dorothea Home in Bournemouth which also closed that year.
In 1928, St Catherine's became a home for 32 boys aged from 5 to 10 years. The following year, Miss A.M. Scuse was installed as the new Matron in ceremony conducted by Dr Westcott, the Society's Secretary, who said:
By 1934, St Catherine's had reverted to use as a girls' home. At the start of the Second World War in 1939, the girls were dispersed to a number of other homes. After the war, the home was re-opened and continued as a boys' establishment until 1969 when it became mixed.
The home finally closed in around 1977. The property is now in private residential use.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.