Emigration Home for Girls, Peckham, London
The Peckham Emigration Home for Girls was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society in 1897 at the Avenue (renamed Rosewell Avenue in about 1912), off the High Street in Peckham. The property, also known as Avenue House, had previously been owned by Miss Maria Rye. Since 1869, Miss Rye had been organising the emigration of parties of orphaned and destitute children to Canada on behalf of organisations such as the Waifs and Strays Society. At her retirement in 1895, Miss Rye handed over the home, together her Canadian base at Niagara-on-the-Lake, to the Society who continued her work.
In the Society's hands, the Peckham house continued in its role of preparing girls for emigration to Canada. The home could accommodate 47 girls aged from 6 to 14 years. Illustrated below are the first stages of a group's journey from Peckham to Niagara.
In 1914, the poor state of the building and the constant traffic passing its door led to the home being transferred to what became the St Mary's Home for Girls at Cheam.
After some refurbishment, the Peckham premises re-opened as the Peckham Receiving Home for Boys.
The property no longer exists.
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.