Records of Emma Cottage Home for Day Girls

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

These are the records of Emma Cottage, 1913-1915.

The collection comprises one Girls' History Book which contains details of individual residents at Emma Cottage. Information is registered in two sections: admissions ('History') and exit ('Career after leaving the home').

Admission categories include home no; name; age; where born; manner of application; where from; date; cause of fall or application. The admissions section also comprises an in-depth statement ('Further Particulars') detailing the history, circumstances and character of the applicant based on their primary interview with a Salvation Army Social Work officer; a list of further 'Dates of Warden's Interviews'; and details of 'Disposal on Leaving the Home'.

Exit categories include change of address and 'contributions to Out-of-Love Fund'. This section also includes dates and details of further communication between the resident and the home.

The collection is arranged as follows:

EC/1: Girls' History Book

Administrative / Biographical History

The Salvation Army began work at three homes in Erskine Hill, November 1912; these were Adelaide Cottage, Emma Cottage and Mary Cottage. The sites were officially opened on 14 May 1914. Emma Cottage was a Home for Day Girls, "young women who will be employed amongst the inhabitants of the suburb for daily work, coming Home to sleep and to spend Sundays in the house that they will look upon as their own home." The Deliverer for March 1913 reported that the home was for 12 girls "who, while able to go out to day service two or three times a week, seemed then to need moral, mental, and physical rest". Close study of the criteria for entry has shown that the home was used to house young women with what are now regarded as ‘learning disabilities.’ Residents are described, using the terminology of the time, as “weak minded,” “feeble minded,” “backward” and “certainly mentally deficient.” Emma Cottage was named after Mrs Emma Barker.

The building that had been both Mary and Emma Cottage was acquired by The Waifs and Strays Society in 1926. It is now (2012) an Abbeyfield Home for elderly people.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to records is dependent on checking individual content. The ages of residents upon entry to the home span 15 - 22 years; at present (December 2015) content relating to children is closed for 100 years under the Data Protection Act. The reading room of The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre is open Tue-Fri 9.30-4.00. It is advisable to make an appointment. Tel: 0207 326 7800; email: heritage@salvationarmy.org.uk.

Other Finding Aids

A multi-level description of this collection can be accessed in the International Heritage Centre's online catalogue: http://www.calmview.eu/SalvationArmy/CalmView/. A paper catalogue is available in the reading room of the International Heritage Centre.