Records of Marshfield Children's Home and Day Nursery

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

These are the papers of Marshfield Children's/Community Home and Day Nursery, 1942-2005.

The Salvation Army began using Marshfield, a house at 37 Park Crescent, Southport, as a war emergency home for mothers and babies in 1940. From 1941-2004 Marshfield operated as a residential home for children, initially for evacuees, then, in the post-war period, for children referred for care by their families or by local authorities. It was known as Marshfield Children's Home (or sometimes Southport Children's Home) from 1947-1971, and as Marshfield Community Home (Children) from 1972-2004. In 1953 Marshfield moved to 79 Albert Road, Southport, where it remained until its closure in 2004. From 1986-2005, a day nursery service was also provided at Marshfield.

The records in this collection cover the lifespan of the Children's/Community Home and Day Nursery; no records of early mother and baby services at Marshfield have survived. A substantial but incomplete set of resident case files span the period from 1942-2004. Resident registers only survive from 1965 onwards and log books of residents' care relate mainly to the period from 1978-2004, although one sanction log survives from 1952. Administrative records only cover the period from 1984-2005, with most being concentrated between 1997 and 2004. The life of Marshfield Day Nursery is covered by a complete set of diaries, 1986-2003, and an incomplete set of registers, 1992-2000 and 2004-2005. Most of the collection is closed due to personal information under the Data Protection Act [1998].

The collection is arranged into six series. Records in the first three series relate to residents of the Children's/Community Home; administrative records and photographs relate to both the Children's/Community Home and the Day Nursery; the final series comprises the records of the Day Nursery. The original order of the records has been maintained or reconstructed as far as possible.

  • MFD/1 Resident registers
  • MFD/2 Log books (Resident care)
  • MFD/3 Resident case files
  • MFD/4 Administrative records
  • MFD/5 Photographs
  • MFD/6 Day nursery

Administrative / Biographical History

The original 'Marshfield' was a house in Southport (37 Park Crescent) acquired by The Salvation Army in December 1940 to accommodate unmarried mothers and babies from its Manchester homes, which were located in a much-bombed area. In 1941, Marshfield began taking in evacuee children, usually children who were orphaned or whose parents were unable to support them, but in a few cases mothers came with their children to live at Marshfield. In 1943, Marshfield ceased providing maternity services and by 1949, the home had begun accepting children referred by education authorities. Also known as Southport Children's Home, Marshfield was the first Salvation Army children's home to accept boys as well as girls.

In 1953, a new building was acquired and purpose-renovated at 79 Albert Road, but the name Marshfield was kept. Extensions were added in 1972, increasing capacity from 36 to 40. Capacity remained at 36-40 until 1987. Children were grouped into three 'families' of twelve, each under the charge of a children's officer. For a time (c1979) there was separate house behind Marshfield for middle and older teenagers. Due to changes in legislation, from 1988-2003 Marshfield was able to accommodate 20 children in two 'families' of up to ten.

Marshfield was known as a Children's Home from 1947 to 1971 having previously been considered a war emergency home. In 1972, changes to social legislation resulted in Marshfield receiving 'assisted' status and becoming known as a Community Home (Children). It remained a Community Home (Children) until its closure in 2004. In 1986, Marshfield also began to provide a day nursery service which continued beyond the closure of the Community Home but ceased also in 2005. During the 1990s, the Home took in disabled children at weekends to provide regular temporary relief for full-time caregivers.

Conditions Governing Access

Most of this collection is closed to the public. Records of a personal nature relating to identified individuals are closed for the lifespan of the individual. When it is not possible to establish whether an individual has died, a closure period of 75 years (if the individual was an adult when the record was created) or 100 years (if the individual was a child when the record was created) is imposed under the Data Protection Act [1998]. Former residents can apply for access to their own records. Please enquire for details. Open files can be viewed in the reading room of The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre, open Tue-Fri 9.30-4.00. To make an appointment or to enquire about your own records, phone: 0207 326 7800; or email: heritage@salvationarmy.org.uk.

Other Finding Aids

A paper catalogue is available in the reading room of the International Heritage Centre.