St Pelagia's Home, Rotherhithe, London
St Pelagia's Home for Roman Catholic girls was established in 1893 in premises at 654 Rotherhithe Street, Rotherhithe. It was run by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and was located close to the area's Roman Catholic chapel. Other homes bearing the St Pelagia's name were opened at Limehouse, Highgate and Tottenham.
The Rotherhithe home could accommodate up to 56 girls and young women between the ages of 14 and 25 who were either destitute or 'preventive cases'. No payment was required, but the inmates were expected to remain for two years and work in the home's laundry in return for their board and lodging.
The home continued in operation until the Second World War.
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.
- The Sisters of The Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Chigwell Convent, 803 Chigwell Road, Woodford Bridge, Essex IG8 8AU.
- London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. (The Ancestry website also has LMA records relating to workhouses and other institutions — more details.) Has some correspondence and papers relating to the St Pelagia's Homes (ref: A/FWA/C/D/245/001)
- Bartley, Paula Prostitution: Prevention and Reform in England, 1860-1914 (2000, Routledge)
- Finnegan, Frances Poverty and Prostitution: A Study of Victorian Prostitutes in York (1979, CUP)
- Hopkins, Jane Ellice, Work Among the Lost (1870, William Macintosh)
- Nokes, Harriet Twenty-Three Years in a House of Mercy (1886, Rivingtons)
- Taylor, William J The Story of the Homes (1907, London Female Preventive and Reformatory Institution)
- Thomas, E W Twenty-Five Years' Labour Among the Friendless and Fallen (1897, Shaw)
- None identified at present.
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