Leeds Charity School / St John's Home, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire
The Leeds Charity School was founded by subscription in 1705. It initially occupied the premises of the Leeds Parish Workhouse at the junction of Vicar Lane and Lady Lane, which at that date had fallen into disuse.
In 1726, following the re-opening of the workhouse, the School moved into the converted chapel of Harrison's Almshouses on Mark Lane, Leeds. The institution fell into decay but was revived in 1815 and the Mark Lane premises rebuilt. It was decided that, with the advent of Sunday and National Schools, the Charity School would now receive up to 80 poor girls, generally from the age of 12 upwards, who would be trained for domestic service.
In the 1890s, the institution moved to premises at Hawthorne House, Regent Street, Chapel Allerton, and was known as St John's Home. In 1911, there were 26 girls in residence and the matron was Mary Slater.
In 1924, the Home relocated to a large house known as Spring Bank at 53 Headingley Lane, Leeds. Still know as St John's Home (or Orphanage), the establishment now accommodated up to orphaned and destitute 40 boys and girls, aged from 3 to 14 years.
The Home closed in around 1933. The property was subsequently occupied by the Spring Bank Nursery.
The Regent Street and Spring Bank buildings have now been converted to 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.
- West Yorkshire Archive Service - Leeds, Nepshaw Lane South, Morley, Leeds LS27 7JQ. Has the Charity's records from 1669 to 1934.
- Higginbotham, Peter Children's Homes: A History of Institutional Care for Britain s Young (2017, Pen & Sword)
- None identified at present.
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