Head Office administration records for residential care homes

Scope and Content

These records are those created by The Children's Society's Head Office that relate to the administration of the residential care homes.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Waifs and Strays Society (later The Children's Society) opened its first two homes in 1882: Clapton Home for Boys in East London and Dulwich Home for Girls in South London.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, children were received into the Homes via three routes:

  • voluntary cases, where a family member or other concerned adult (often a member of the clergy or social worker) would apply for a place for the child
  • via the Guardians of the Poor Law, who could choose to house children with voluntary agencies rather than in their own workhouses. The Guardians would pay a fixed amount for each child (equivalent to the cost of maintaining the child in the workhouse.) Some Waifs and Strays Society Homes were certified for the reception of such children.
  • as industrial schools, where children would be sent by the magistrates for a range of reasons including truancy, petty crime and living in immoral surroundings. The children were paid for out of central government funds. The successor to these was approved schools.

With the disbanding of the Guardians of the Poor Law in 1930 and the increasing responsibility of local authorities for children's services, more children were placed in the care of the organisation by local authorities. The 1969 Children's Act set up the Assisted Community Homes system and some Children's Society Homes became part of that.

Different types of home and resident:

  • receiving homes: homes to which children were sent prior to a longer term place being found in another Home.
  • training homes/ industrial homes: these Homes were specifically for older children in order to train them to earn their own living. Amongst others, St Chad's in Far Headingly in Leeds trained "delicate girls" in machine knitting and also provided laundry training, whilst the Islington Home for Boys provided training in shoemaking; carpentry; and tailoring.
  • convalescent homes: usually on the south coast.
  • "family homes": up to World War II the Homes were generally single sex, apart from those for children with disabilities and for very young children. After 1946 more Homes became "mixed units", allowing brothers and sisters to remain together. Alice Brooke Home in Scarborough was the last of The Children's Society's Homes solely for girls, with boys only arriving in 1969.
  • children with physical disabilities: from 1887 to the 1980s The Children's Society operated residential homes for children with physical disabilities. During the 1970s and 1980s, The Children's Society continued to provide support for children with physical disabilities in what were then termed "mixed units" which also housed non-disabled children.
  • diabetic children: from 1949 to 1971 The Children's Society provided residential care for diabetic children at St Monica's in Kingsdown in Kent, Carruthers Corfield House in Rustington, Sussex and St George's in Kersal near Manchester.
  • nurseries: these became more prolific after World War II when there was an increase in the number of babies and toddlers needing places.
  • children with learning difficulties: the Edward Rudolf Memorial Homes opened in south London in the 1930s to provide places for children with what were then termed "behaviourial problems."


These records were created by The Children's Society's Head Office but a more specific provenance is unknown.

As the original order of these records is unknown, they have been grouped according to the residential care homes they relate to, in order to make specific records easier to find.