Ancestry UK

Sheffield Orphan Homes, Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire

The Sheffield Orphan Homes were founded in 1878 by Mr and Mrs H.E. Hoole. In 1880, new premises for the institution were opened on a two-acre site on Lydgate Lane, Crookes. They comprised a pair of semi-detached cottages, each housing twenty orphans and a matron. Each cottage had a wash kitchen, a large cellar, and a bathroom in the basement. On the ground floor was a large kitchen, a playroom twenty feet long, a mother's room, a pantry etc. On the upper floors were bedrooms, a large storeroom, and attic. The opening ceremony, on 13 April 1880, was performed by Lady Alice Fitzwilliam and Lady Albreda Fitzwilliam. In their honour, the two cottages were named Lady Alice Cottage and Lady Albreda Cottage.

Former Sheffield Orphan Homes original building, Sheffield, 2014. © Peter Higginbotham

In June 1885, the foundation stone for an additional home at the west of the original property was laid by Lady Wharncliffe. The new building, opened in November 1886, was designed by Mr J.B. Mitchell-Withers. On the ground floor were a spacious playroom, a kitchen, matron's room, bathroom, pantry and scullery, as well as spacious washhouse, cellars, larder etc. in the basement. On the first floor were three dormitories, with a matron's bedroom, and on the floor above some roomy attics. The new house was named Wharncliffe Cottage and was used to accommodate boys, while the old premises were given over to housing girls.

The homes site is shown on the 1921 map below.

Sheffield Orphan Homes site, Sheffield, c.1921.

Former Sheffield Orphan Homes boys' house, Sheffield, 2014. © Peter Higginbotham

Former Sheffield Orphan Homes boys' house, Sheffield, 2014. © Peter Higginbotham

Sheffield Orphan Homes boys' house, Sheffield, c.1915. © Peter Higginbotham

On 14 October 1887, the homes were licensed to operate as a Certified School, housing children boarded out from workhouses. The premises could accommodate up to 50 such children, aged at least five years at their date of admission.

The homes closed in around 1925. In 1926, the premises and site were put up for sale, with the proceeds to divided between Sheffield's Royal Infirmary and the Royal Hospital. The Royal Hospital, which needed extra accommodation for its nurses, made an offer for the homes, which was accepted. The properties each later housed light engineering businesses.


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.

  • Certified Schools were run by a wide range of groups and individuals and have no central records. However, relevant information may survive in the records of the Poor Law Union that placed each child at a particular establishment. The best place to start is the union covering the area where the child previously resided, although children were sometimes sent further afield.


  • None identified at present.