Ancestry UK

Orphanage for Roman Catholic Children, Tudhoe, Spennymoor, County Durham

An orphanage for Roman Catholic Children was established at Tudhoe, near Spennymoor, in 1867. It was run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul.

On 10th July, 1871, the home was accredited as a Certified School, allowing it to receive children boarded out by the workhouse authorities.

At the start of 1878, the home moved to new premises — a property adjacent to the Roman Catholic church in the village, previously occupied by a 'colony' of French expatriates. On 11th January, 1878, the new building was formally approved for use as a Certified School.

By 1900, the home had become known as St Mary's and admitted only girls. At that date, it had 69 places for girls aged from 4 years upwards, placed by Boards of Guardians across Durham and Northumberland. The superintendent in 1900 was Sister Monica, who was still in charge in 1920, when the capacity of the home had been increased to 186 places.

In 1939, the home again became a mixed establishment when the boys from the St Peter's Orphanage at Gainford were transferred to Tudhoe.

The Tudhoe home continued in operation until 1966, when it transferred to Heaton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, as a smaller 'Group Home'.

The Tudhoe building was demolished in 1968. In recent times, a number allegations have emerged of harsh treatment and abuse suffered by inmates of the home.


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