South Shields Council Homes
In 1930, the Boards of Guardians, who had administered the poor relief system in England and Wales since 1834, were abolished and their responsibilities were taken over by county and county borough councils. Each council set up a Public Assistance Committee to oversee its new duties, which included the operation of the various children's establishments previously run by the poor law unions in each area. The South Shields Council's Public Assistance Committee took over the South Shields Union's Cottage Homes at Cleadon, where around 165 children could be housed, together with its accompanying convalescent home, and a 40-bed receiving home adjacent to the union's workhouse on Harton Lane, South Shields.
The cottage homes were renovated in 1934. So that the general public could make a contribution to the cost of the project, a sale of work was held at the homes to help fund the work on the children's recreation hut.
Following the passing of the 1948 Children Act, councils were required to provide care services for all needy children in their area, especially those who lacked a normal family home. In common with other local authorities, the council established a new Children's Committee, whose responsibilities had previously been spread across separate Health, Education and Public Assistance Committees. The Committee took over responsibility for the cottage homes, whose address was now usually given as 10 Oakleigh Gardens, Cleadon.
The 1948 Act had recommended that where children needed to be in residential care, they should be in 'family group' homes, which ideally accommodated no more than eight children, or twelve at most. Beginning in 1950, the council gradually began to expand its accommodation in this direction, beginning with a house at 214 Westoe Road, South Shields. This was followed by 23 Henderson Road (1951) and 14 Edhill Avenue (1954), both of which were on newly built council housing estates. An older property at 277 Stanhope Road was added in 1956 and another council estate house at 16 Lewis Gardens in 1957. In around 1953, the Gabbitas Residential Nursery was opened at the Cleadon site, named in memory of the cottage homes' long-serving former matron, Mrs B. Gabbitas. The cottage homes at Cleadon closed in 1962, but the nursery continued to operate their until 1965 when it moved to new premises at Bisley Drive, Brinkburn Estate, South Shields. The Stanhop Road home also closed in 1962 and was replaced by a new estate home at 39 Grotto Gardens, Marsden. A new home was opened in 1967 at 140 Whiteleas Way, on the Whiteleas estate. The Westoe Road home subsequently became a reception centre.
The council's children's accommodation in 1972 is listed below:
|Reception Centre, 214 Westoe Road, South Shields||12|
|23 Henderson Road, Simonside, South Shields||11|
|14 Edhill Avenue, Simonside, South Shields||11|
|16 Lewis Gardens, Whiteleas, South Shields||9|
|39 Grotto Gardens, Marsden, South Shields||9|
|140 Whiteleas Way, Whiteleas Estate, South Shields||8|
|The Gabbitas Nursery, Bisley Drive, Brinkburn Estate, South Shields||2|