Ancestry UK

Holy Cross Home / St Stephen's Home, Wapping / Kennington, London

In 1858, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, an Anglican order, opened a small children's home at their Mission House on Calvert Street, Wapping.

For several years in the 1860s, home operated at The Burrows (or Burroughs), Hendon, and adopted the name St Stephen's Orphanage.

In 1870, needing more space, the order's Mother House was moved from Wapping to Kennington where it occupied three and then four houses in Newington Terrace, facing the Park. They took the children and older girls of the House, and left a few Sisters to carry on at Wapping. The children's section was again known as St Stephen's Home and run under the direction of another order, the Fathers of St John, Cowley. The Home could accommodate up to 30 girls, who were received at any age. Those recommended by the Sisters or the Associates of the Home were received free, the remainder on a payment of 5s. weekly. They were clothed, and trained 'according to their ability and station' either for domestic service or for teaching, telegraph and postal work, etc.

The lease on the four houses expired in 1885, the Sisters had to disperse for about a year, as their convent being built at Haywards Heath was not yet ready for occupation. Some of the children were sent into service. For the rest, a house was taken at Willington Road, Brighton, where Sister Isabel had care of the children with 'old Nursie' to help.

After the Haywards Heath convent was opened in 1887, the girls' home was re-established there.


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.



  • Thanks to the Community of the Holy Cross for information about the homes.