Records of Amhurst Road Rescue Home for Women

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

These are the records of Amhurst Road Rescue Home and its predecessor Dalston III Home (44 Navarino Road). The collection also contains some records from The Salvation Army's Chelsea Home.

The collection comprises a single volume of Girls' Statements covering women resident at each of the above Rescue Homes between 1886 and 1892 beginning with the Chelsea Home, then Dalston III, then Amhurst Road. The Home numbers assigned to the residents form a continuous series across the three homes suggesting a successive transfer of function from one home to the next. However, other sources show that Chelsea Home continued to accept rescue cases after the Girls' Statement Book in this collection had been transferred to Dalston III home.

The Statement Book includes the categories name; age; where born; where from and by whom sent; marriage; how long fallen; service or other employment; been in hospital. It 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'.

The collection is arranged as follows:

AMH/1 Girls' Statement Book, 1886-1892

Administrative / Biographical History

The exact date of opening of the Chelsea Home at 52 Blenheim Street is unknown, but there was a Chelsea Home in operation prior to 16 March 1886 as a Rebecca Cawthorne is recorded in the London series of Girls' Statement books as having come from 'The Chelsea Home' to the Receiving House on that date. The first recorded entry in the Home's own Girls' Statement Book dates from 24 July 1886. This appears to have been when the Chelsea Home began taking in girls sent from the Receiving Home. The Home was initially run by a number of 'Sisters' (female Salvationists), but a Captain Brown was in charge in September 1886 and Captain Caroline Frost, a certified midwife, took charge of the Home in late October or early November 1886 as well as being appointed The Salvation Army's first regular midnight officer at the same time. The Home appears to have then served mainly as a Maternity Home, admitting mostly pregnant cases from November 1886 onwards. A later source states that 'The Picadilly [midnight rescue] work was [...] carried on for twelve months from a little cottage at Chelsea where four girls could be received by Mrs Frost temporarily' [Deliverer, October 1937 p113]. Accommodation for 16 girls was taken over by Captain Frost in Pimlico in late 1887 but admissions to the Chelsea Home continue in the London Statement Books until April 1889.

Dalston III was one of three Salvation Army Rescue Homes run from adjacent properties in Navarino Road. The first reference in the London Statement Books to the Home at 44 Navarino Road appears in December 1886. From August 1887 this came to be known as Dalston III. However, around Christmas 1888 The Salvation Army was given a month's notice to vacate all three properties on Navarino Road. These were replaced by the Grove House, Clapton Square and Amhurst Road Homes.

Amhurst Road Rescue Home or London III was the successor to Dalston III, opening in January 1889. It was sometimes referred to as the Washing Text Home after the industry carried out by its early residents to raise funds to cover the costs of their accommodation and training. The original home was located in rented accommodation at 183 Amhurst Road but this and the adjacent house, 181, were purchased in 1905 to extend the Home, bringing its capacity up to fifty and allowing a laundry to be installed for the use of residents. Also in 1905, Lieut-Colonel Elizabeth Lambert was appointed Warden of the Home as well as 'Principal of the Training Institute and Warden of the Home attached, besides superintending Lanark House Home, and the big knitting industry there.'

Amhurst Road Home was categorised as a Rescue Home until 1907 when it began to be referred to as an Industrial Home, remaining an Industrial Home until 1923. It was known as the West Hackney Home from 1906-1919. In 1923 the Amhurst Road residents and associates were transferred to the newly purchased St Cuthberts in South Norwood and the Industrial Home work continued from there until 1947. Lieut-Colonel Lambert supervised the transfer. The property at 183 Amhurst Road became known as Hillsborough House from 1924-1931 and was used as a Home for Mothers and Infants. It closed on 30 September 1931 and its books and associates were transferred to Cotswold, 55-57 Downs Road, Clapton.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research. 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.