Ancestry UK

Newcastle Diocesan Home / House of Mercy / St Hilda's Approved School, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland

The Newcastle Diocesan Home was established in 1883 by a local branch of the Ladies' Association for the Care of Friendless Girls together with the Northumberland Society for the protection of Women and Children, the latter presided over by Frances Wilberforce, wife of the Bishop of Newcastle. The home provided girls who were viewed as being in moral danger with accommodation, religious education, and training for employment as domestic servants. The girls would have come via a variety of routes, e.g. referred by clergymen, by other agencies, by their family or friends, or just turned up on the doorstep. A matron, Mrs Davey, was employed by the two groups to run the home, overseen by a Lady Superintendent — probably one of the Association or Society's members.

The Home occupied premises at 6-8 Ravensworth Terrace, Newcastle upon Tyne. Number 6 was deployed as a receiving and short-term home, together with a free Registry Office to arrange employment for girls as domestic servants. Number 7 housed as a Training School for the girls and included a laundry which took in washing from local families and generated an income for the home. Number 8 was used as a Ladies' boarding house, allowing the girls to put into practice the household skills they were learning and also generating some income to support the running of the institution.

In 1889, the establishment relocated to the village of Nedderton and its running was handed over to the Waifs and Strays Society. The Ravensworth Terrace premises continued in use for rescue work and as a home for a sisterhood which was being formed under the auspices of the Church Penitentiary Association. The home was then known as the Newcastle Diocesan House of Mercy. The sisterhood was formally dissolved in 1893 although two of its members, Sister Teresa and Sister Hope, continued with the work, subsequently moving to premises at 305 Salter's Road, Gosforth.

In 1935, the Salter's Road premises were being used for preventive work and for 'fallen women' from the diocese. Inmates were expected to remain there for two years.

In 1941, the establishment became a Senior Approved School known as St Hilda's Training School for Girls. The inmates were occupied in domestic training and gardening.

In 1973, the School became a Community Home with Education (CHE) jointly run with Newcastle City Council.

The School closed in the mid-1980s after the City Council withdrew financial support for its operation. In 1988, the site was sold by the Newcastle Diocese and the proceeds used to set up the St Hilda's Trust which makes grants to projects benefitting the lives of children or young people in deprived communities.


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Nedderton Home only: