Their History

Photographs and Information of the NCH Branches

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The text on this page releated to when the branches were in operation. Most of the branches have now closed down.

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The Rev Dr Thomas Bowman Stephenson, Founder and Principal

The Site of the first home
8 Church Street, Lambeth, London. 1869-1871, This small first home was a small cottage, which provided little more than a large room with a loft, the first two boys arrived on 9th July 1869. In 1871 Dr Stephenson was able to move and convert the old derelict factory of the Victoria Stone Company in Bonner Road. The factory soon became The Children's Home. The idea was to move children away from the smoke and dirt of London. A new home was aquired and in 1872 twenty-four boys and four girls arrived at the Wheatsheaf Inn with it's eighty acres of land at Edgworth Lancashire. From this point the aim of getting children a clean and pleasant living was born. More branches of the National Children's Home soon were placed in the country and towns.

The text used in the information part for the Homes has mainly come from the 1973 year book, or if prefixed (1930) comes from the NCH yearbook for 1930. The remaing items come from various other NCH works. Many of the Homes listed here have closed down since this text was originally devised, but it gives a clear image of The NCH Home locations.

The Children's Home. Bonner Road, London. Centre - The Children's Home. Left - The Children's Home Hospital. Far Right - The Church of The Children's Home.

At the Conference of 1893, an important step was taken affecting both The Children's Home and the neighbouring Chapel in Approach Road. Dr. Stephenson became Superintendent of the Victoria Park Circuit, and Approach Road Chapel, also the Church of The Children's Home. The arrangement was mutually advantageous. The Church secures the valuable and attractive services of the Home Choir, the children and officers form a most interesting and important element in the congregation, and in various ways the work of the Church is helped by the presence of the Home community, and by the cordial cooperation of the officers of the Home in many branches of Christian enterprise. The Home is benefited by the new relationship. The officers and children come out of the secluded life of their own community, and take their place in a general congregation, joining in public worship, and learning what is of great value to our children, that they have their place in the Church of God. One of the greatest perils of Institution life, is that it is extremely difficult to avoid giving the children a limited view of life, so that when they go out into the world they are unable to fall into other ways than those to which they have been accustomed in the little world of the Institution. The sharing in common worship is an important element in the education of our children. The officers of the Church greatly value the presence of the children, and are ever ready to meet their needs. The order of services has been re-arranged so as to be suited to a Church whose congregation is to a considerable extent made up of young people; and it is proposed shortly to make such changes in the structure of the Church as may provide safely and conveniently for the attendance of the epileptic children from "Hope House." The Church stands at the end of the " Terrace/' and actually adjoins the Home premises. It is thus most conveniently situated to be the ordinary place of worship for our large family. The Home Chapel, so dear to many in many lands, is still used for daily prayers, for our monthly Communion Service, and for many gatherings in connection with the internal life of the Home.

Names of the Homes
Most of the branches of the NCH are often known by two names. The Home might be known by the towns location or the branch name.

Branch Names and Locations
Alexandra House – Ealing
Archie Briggs House - Pitlochry
Ardwyn – Dinas Powis
Ashwood - Woking
Bourne Place – Hildenborough
Bonner House – London
Bonner House – Bournville
Cathkin House - Glasgow
Clarendon – Cardiff
Croft – Edgbaston
Crowthorn School - Edgworth

Dalmeny - Ramsey
Danesford School – Congleton
Elmfield – Harpenden
Elsmere – St Annes
Elswick Road - Newcastle
Evenley Hall – Brackley
Fairfield - Harrogate
Forest House – Horsham
Gyde Home – Painswick

Harewood - Birkdale
Headlands - Penarth
Highfield – Harpenden
Hilton Grange - Bramhope
Holmwood – Bristol
Killay House - Swansea
Laleham – Oxted
Larpool Hall - Whitby
Longford – Leamington Spa

Malmesbury House – St. Leonards
May Lodge - Scarborough
Morville House - Manchester
New Farnham House – Elmstead Woods
Newton Hall – Frodsham
Ogilvie House – Manchester
Pannal Ash - Harrogate
Pastens - Limpsfield
Penhurst – Chipping Norton
Princess Alice – Birmingham

Red Gables - Wolverhampton
Ryalls Court - Seaton
Southdowns – Alresford
Springfield – Nottingham
Steep Hill House - Lincoln
Stelling Hall - Newcastle
Stephenson Court – Selly Oak
Stokesmead – Alverstoke
Watson House – Sutton Coldfield
Westdene - Southport
Westcroft - Sheringham

NCH Extended Family

An NCH (Action For Children) site at
The website for Action For Children Extended Family - the place for information on the history and heritage of the National Children''s Home"
"We would like this website to build upon and strengthen our 138 years of history and heritage".


Location of Branches

These are grouped by regions.
London and Northern Home Counties
South East
South West
North West
North East

London and Northern Home Counties

HIGHBURY 1925 - 2010
Chief Office: 85 Highbury Park London N5 1UD
1930 70 Children.
Stephenson Hall (Training College) 85c Highbury Park, London N5 1UD
Legard Family Centre, Legard Road, Highbury, London N5 1UD

The central office of the Home established at Bonner Road, Bethnal Green, in 1871, was moved to Highbury in 1925. The complex of buildings upon this site has served many purposes for the Children’s Home: the YLU Hospital, built in 1927, was a residential nursery until 1968 and has now a day nursery on the ground floor, a family centre on the first floor and family flats on the first and second floors. Stephenson Hall, built in 1933, is a training college which has made an outstanding contribution to the success of the Home’s work through the annual intake of 30 or more students. Students return to the branches after their courses, not only with fresh insight into the needs of children and how they may be met, but also with a new sense of belonging to their colleagues and the community in which they have chosen to work. The Legard Day Nursery and the Legard Family Centre provide a service for children from the neighbourhood selected on the basis of need.

Senior Sisters 1939

Bonnor Road London 1871
Gymnastics display in the playground.

Hospital Dayroom

The Printing Works, this was later transfered to Harpenden when the Bonner Road Branch closed down in 1913.



CHIPPING NORTON Penhurst, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 5LN 1930 92 Children. Mr D J Freeman Special branch for 52 physically handicapped children. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Chippy’, this branch developed from two large houses acquired in 1903, to which an adjacent house and lodge were added soon afterwards as a gift. The old houses remain but are completely modernised and new buildings have been added to provide a well equipped school. But Penhurst remains essentially a branch of the Home where it is the aim to give the children security and happiness through the care of devoted and skilled staff. Severely disabled children are received and all efforts are directed to the achievement of independence. A normal school curriculum is followed as far as possible. Each child receives regular physiotherapy and there is great excitement when balance is achieved for the first time and aids to walking can be discarded. At the centre is the chapel of the branch, with its memorial to John Buchanan, the most famous old boy of Chipping Norton who, although born without hands, gained international reputation as an artist.


Chipping Norton First Aid Demonstration

Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton
Children with their toys

Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton

Chipping Norton

March 1985 The Queen was intoduced to residents from Chipping Norton by The Rev Gordon E Barritt together with Mr David Freeman the Director at Chipping Norton at the Gala Night ar The Royal Albert Hall.

Chipping Norton Thanks to Neil for finding some of the Penhurst School Photos of The Chipping Norton NCH Branch. Neil's Father is sitting on the immediate left of the scoreboard. Photo c.1918

For a large collection of photographs taken by Sister Laura Harrington, please visit the Children's Photos page.

EALING Alexandra House, Queen's Walk, London W5 1TQ Miss Brenda Farman Nursery for 20 children. Opened in 1968, Alexandra House is a purpose-built nursery with accommodation for 20 babies and young children under five years of age and facilities for training nursery nurses. The building is three storeys high at the front where the staff live; the children’s wing runs back at right angles alongside an attractive garden where they can play.

NEW BARNET, Herts. 1930: 32 Children.

HARPENDEN 1913-1985
HARPENDEN Highfield, Harpenden, Hertfordshire 1930: 291 Children. General branch for 200 children Largest of the Home’s branches, Harpenden also claims seniority as inheritor of the traditions of the original London branches at Church Street, Lambeth, and Bonner Road, Bethnal Green. Building began in 1913 and large houses for children were set around an oval green dominated by three tall trees. School buildings were also provided and these have been converted into a fine community hall now that children go to the schools in the neighbourhood. The houses proved very suitable for adaptation as flats for smaller groups and, although the number of children at Harpenden is large, everyone lives in a ‘family’ of eight or ten where individuals care can be provided. The fine chapel at Harpenden was built through the generosity of the late Joseph Rank. The east and west windows were designed by Mr Frank Salisbury, but the windows in the transept were brought from the Bonner Road Chapel and commemorate Dr Stephenson and his wife. Within the grounds of Harpenden is the Home’s printing department, managed by Mr B W Beck, itself also a link with earlier days at Bonner Road.

Highfield The Early Days
Image 1

Before the hospital and third boys block were built

Originally the five blocks of houses had names. Wakefield, Old Boys & Girls, etc. Later when each house was divided into four units it was found easier to use the numbers 1-20. Numbered anti-clockwise starting with the first building on the right hand side as you entered the home. The first twelve flats were on the boys side and the remaing eight flats on the girls side.

From the enterance and turning right 1/2 Wakefield House 3/4 Bottley House 5/6 OGB House (Old Girls & Boys) 7/8 Clifton House 9/10 Ashcroft House 11/12 Deakin House Admin Block Chapel School/Hall Girls side: 13/14 Mrs Ferens 15/16 Walker House 17/18 Ferens 19/20 Barlow House

Harpenden c.1920
Card sent by a Sister? in 1934 Dear All, I'm still alive, but we've just finished Convocation & life has been very hectic. The Principal & folks from every branch have been here, tomorrow Sister Ethel is being moved to another house, so time is precious. I'll write later.

This P.C. is a bit ancient & where the blot is there are 2 more houses (later to become flats 9-12) they built two together. Where X is, thats my house. Cheers Doris. P.S. The Oval is in centre with trees on it. Lords is number 11 on the P.C. & the chapel isn't on, only the hut. (original chapel - later to become the guide hut).

Harpenden c. 1960

Harpenden c. 1960

Harpenden Admin Block 2002 A.C. (After Closure)

1914 B.C. (Before clock)

1914 Postcard of the Administration Building Sent from Harpenden "The weather is simply grand and the country is lovely, enjoying ourselves. A I Love from A & B Harrow

The Highfield Branch of the NCH at Harpenden, Herts, contains twenty flats each with eight to eleven children of mixed ages of both boys & girls in a family group, they are looked after by either a Sister or Houseparent. The enclosed site occupies some forty acres including open grassed areas and woodland. Various group activities are available for the children to attend during their free time and a chapel is located in the grounds. The children are now sent to the Infant, Junior and Senior schools in the local town for their education

Harpenden c.1938

Old Girls & Boys House - Boys side. The Founding of the O.G.B. House. A house that has been provided through the generosity of Old Girls and Boys. The foundation stone laying at the new Harpenden Branch, on Wednesday 12th October 1912. One of the Old boys laid on the foundation stone of one of the new houses a cheque for £1,000. The rule of the NCH was that any benefactor donating £1,000 could have a house named after them. The wish of the Old Girl’s and Boy’s was that this house to be know as the O.G.& B House. They knew however that although they had donated £1,000 the actual cost of building one of the houses was £2,000. From this point on they stared saving again and on 2nd January 1918 a second cheque of £1,000 was handed over.

Harpenden The First Girls Block to be built

Girls Side

Girls side C. 1920

Girls side c. 1920

The Sewing Room

Harpenden The Laundary

Harpenden The Bakery

Harpenden Hospital & Main House

Chapel & Admin Block

Laundry & School (up to 1950's)
Kindergarten & Rec Hall (from 1960's)

Girls Side Flats 13-20

Harpenden Girls Side c.1920

Boys Side Flats 1-4

Harpenden Boys Side Flats 1-12 Hot water for washing and heating for flats 1-12 was suppled during the 1960's from a single boiler unit at the rear of the flats. This used a very cheap form of waste oil from the railways. In the winter due to the cold the oil in the main tank would turn almost solid, with the result of no hot water or heating. During burning, lead and toxic smoke and fumes are released, with possible nerve, blood damage, and cancer on exposure, not really the thing to have in a Children's Home. On the girls side a more traditional form of clean oil fired heating was used that did not fail in cold weather.

Printing Works

Woodwork Shop

Veg. Patch & Printing Works

The Orchard

The Hospital

The original artist work to show how the new Harpenden branch would look. c.1912

At The Carpenter's Bench

Harpenden A specially beautiful little cemetery was provided in a space next to the woods at the Harpenden Branch, for children and members of staff (a Principal, a Vice-Principal, a Governor, and Sister Emma Goodin, old girl and Superintendent of the Sanatorium, who died in her 103rd year).

Harpenden c.1930
An unknown group possibly visiting for the day.

Postcard Sent in 1962 Showing the Main enterance to Highfield Oval.

Sent by Auntie to Patience Frappe

Postcard sent to Sister Nora Smith in 1951 showing The Chapel and Admin office at Harpenden

Dear Sister Nora.
I feel I owe you some explanation for not having seen more of Maureen. We have had so much trouble since early March that we have not had a normal time for weeks. However we think now that things are temporily better. Love from Mot & Roy

Akrill House - Retired Sister's Home

ELMFIELD SANATORIUM Ambrose Lane, Harpenden Hertfordshire 1930: 54 Children. Special school for 35 physically handicapped children. The sanatorium at Harpenden opened in 1910 for children suffering from tuberculosis. The gradual improvement in the general standards of nutrition and child care in the community and the improvement in medical science slowly changed the situation until in the 1950’s there were very few tubercular children needing admission. Since 1955 the buildings have been adapted to accommodate seriously handicapped children, both boys and girls, in a residential special school. New classrooms have been built and special facilities provided so that Elmfield has all the equipment to encourage children to overcome their handicaps and to gain independence. Now in 2005 it is a private school with Christian ethics. King's School, Harpenden.

Elmfield Sanatorium


The Sanatorium
Elmfield 'The Other Place'


The Sanatorium
'Sunday Lunch' helping with the chores


Resting at Harpenden









SHERINGHAM Westcroft, Hooks Hill Road, Sheringham, Norrfolk 1930: 57 Children. General branch for 30 children. In 1916 William Garrood presented his own home to the National Children’s Home and two years later a further gift was made of the house next door. The two large houses, adapted and improved over the years, offer accommodation for children in the small, mixed family groups common throughout the Home. A simple but impressive chapel has been added by converting the original stable.




South East

FARNBOROUGH, Hants. Approved School 1930: 150 Children.

Farnborough In 1898 all the premises of The Children's Home are our own property except one. At Gravesend we have always been in a hired house. Four years ago the lease expired. We secured a short extension of our ocupancy, but for many reasons which need not here be repeated, we did not feel it right either to purchase the property or to renew the lease. Where, then, could we go ? A few years previously, a building erected for an orphanage was presented to us at Farnborough. This edifice—though not according to our ideas— lent itself to adaptation. The site was excellent, the position extremely healthy, and the existing buildings when adapted would form an admirable centre block for the Institution. By a remarkable providence, it became possible for us to purchase a large piece of adjacent land : making the entire site two acres and a half. Schools, Workshops, Drill Hall, Laundry, Bakery, Stores, Governor's House, Drill Master's House, are approaching completion. A thorough and admirable system of drainage has been laid down. A fine playground, big enough for football, is provided. There is room for the erection of two more houses. Altogether we shall have a very choice and admirable Institution there; and we hope the transfer from Gravesend will be effected in the early summer. The cost of the property—including the 1 additional land—will be at least £9,000. Provision for this was partially made by anticipation. But to remove the uncovered liability of the Home when the new financial year (April) begins, a sum of £5,000 at least will be needed.

MILTON INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL FOR BOYS, ALEXANDRA ROAD, FARNBOROUGH, HAMPSHIRE Opened at Milton, Gravesend 1875 and was certified on the 15th March 1875 for 150 boys.
Combined with Purbrook in 1900 at Cosham Removed in 1898 to Alexander Road and certified 13th September 1898 for 100 boys. Re-certified 13th November 1899, 24th December 1902, 10th April, 1903, 6th August 1904 and 1916 for 150 boys.
Stands on two acres and a half and is intended for the reception of boys who have not been convicted of crimes but who have been committed under Section 14 15 & 16 of the Industrial Schools Act of 1866.
From 1933 became NATIONAL CHILDREN'S HOME APPROVED SCHOOL - The Certified Industrial Branch, Alexander Road, Farnborough, Hampshire (NICKNAMED DR. STEPHENSON'S SCHOOL)
STAFF 1898 - Principal Rev. T.B. Stephenson LL.D (Bonner Rd, London E); Governor Harry Tyson 1900 - Governor and matron Mr & Mrs H Tyson; schoolmaster Mr W. Wilson; house matrons Miss Silverthorn, Mrs Bateman and Mrs Edwards; sick nurse Mrs Day 1903 - Governor and matron Mr & Mrs H Tyson; schoolmaster Mr W. Wilson; assistant schoolmistress Miss R Flacey appointed 17th February in place of Mrs Edwards

OXTED 1909 - 1951

OXTED, Surrey. Originally The Laleham Orphanage 1930: 35 Children. The Oxted branch moved to a new location at Limpsfield, and the home converted to looking after disabled children.

National Children's Home - SE Regional Office
NCH provides a wide range of services for children and families. In Surrey we work in partnership with a range of agencies in the provision of services to children with disabilities.

Family Group Oxted

Catch Me If You Can

Oxted 2007
Pastens National Children's Home 
Pastens NCH
Pastens Road 

Pastens is a residential unit providing short and long stay service to children with severe learning disabilities and/or with a physical disability who have limited mobility, including users of wheelchairs. Care can be provided for children who have health needs, those who require care/attention at night, and children with behavioural problems. Age range 5 to 18 years.
Who is eligible for this service?: Children with severe learning or physical disabilities between the ages of 5-18, requiring residential care.

DODDINGTON, Kent. Babies Branch 1930: 31 Children.

Great Possibilities

Previously known as Doddington College, Southdowns was a boarding school for 'the sons of gentlemen'. Local children used to say that the initials, 'DC', on the flagstaff stood for 'Dirty Children'! The master of the college, Mr. Longhurst, was also the organist at the Church and formed both a Boys Choir (which performed at music festivals in Canterbury) and a village Male Voice Choir. However, when Mr. Longhurst left, the college became less popular and finally closed. After the closure of the school, the property was bought by Sister Mary Broad, a Wesleyan Deaconess; she opened a convalescent home for girls, known as the babies unit of the NCH in the 1930's, Southdowns is now a respite care unit for children with disabilities.

Southdowns is an imposing Victorian building that was built before1870 as a boarding school, "Doddington College".
It is set in its own grounds and approached along a sweeping drive that is entered from Chequers Hill. In its early days the college was run by a Mr. Longhurst, who was also organist and choirmaster of the local village church of St. John the Baptist.
The 1881 census shows that Doddington College then housed Mr. Longhurst and his family, plus eight staff and 37 boy pupils. The eldest child of the Longhurst family was then aged 9 years, and the birthplace is given as Doddington, which indicates that the building predates 1870. When Mr. Longhurst left the college it declined and finally closed. Around the end of the 19th century, the building was purchased by a Wesleyan Deaconess, Sister Mary Anne Broad, who turned it into "Highgate Woods Lodge", a convalescent home for girls. She also put up most of the money in 1903 for the construction of Doddington Methodist chapel, which is now used as the village hall.
In 1913 Southdowns became part of the Methodist run National Children's Home organisation, and became the NCH babies unit during the 1930s. After WW2, Southdowns was a full children's home, but, in the autumn of 1949, NCH sold the property to Kent County Council, and transferred the remaining NCH children to the Stokesmead home at Alverstoke, Hampshire. Under K.C.C. control, Southdowns became a home for children with emotional and other problems, but it is now a respite care home for children with special needs and learning disabilities.

FAVERSHAM, Kent. 1930: 44 Children.

ALRESFORD Southdowns, Alresford, Hampshire General branch for 40 children. The property at Alresford was purchased in 1899 by the Rev Joseph Peck for a new venture in child care by the Primitive Methodist Church. Set in delightful country surroundings, the main building is approached through an avenue of lime trees. There is a hobbies room and a community hall, the gifts of Mr Edgar A Milward, OBE, Chairman of the Alresford branch committee. A modern family house in memory of the late Mary Yolland has been built in the grounds and provides accommodation for nine children and two staff.





Primitave Methodist Home Later to become an NCH branch.

Message on the back of the 1926 postcard. Dear All, Hows tricks, I am enjoying myself fine. This is a jolly place. There are 21 girls and 4 men students, so you see I am all right. I am just going to school, sounds funny doesn't it. Well Love. Will

Alresford. Message written by G.Hill possibly to his sister. We are having a really lovely time. It seems a tiny school after Harrogate, but much more of a holiday for us. Mr Leach came last night & seems thoroughly at home. Watson is having a great time. I am sure I’m getting fat already. We had a baby calf yesterday. Love G Hill.

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL CHILDREN'S SERVICES SUB-COMMITTEE SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE 18 JANUARY 1995 NCH ACTION FOR CHILDREN - SOUTHDOWNS REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES Southdowns is a children's home run by the NCH Action for Children. It has "assisted community home" status; that is, it is registered by the Secretary of State and run by a Management Committee on which the Social Services Committee is represented. Southdowns is located in Alresford. It is an old site that is difficult to use as a children's home. It currently accommodates 18 children, two of whom are from Hampshire. One is 18 years old and one 17. Both are well established with firm links in the area and will be ready to move on to independence with support from their social workers. Over the past few years, there have been significant difficulties within the home, which relate to both staff and children. There has been a declining demand for the service and reducing occupancy. This has led to the Senior Management Team of NCH Action for Children to examine the future of the home. CLOSURE NCH Action for Children employed a social work consultancy firm to report on options for the future of Southdowns. The consultancy recommended closure. Consultations took place with the Deputy Director and other Senior Officers of the department, who were in agreement. The children were also consulted. The closure proposal was put to the Management Committee of Southdowns on 7 December 1994 and accepted. Due to the home having assisted community home status the Secretary of State must be informed of the closure decision . Where the Management Committee are unable to carry on the home for at least 2 years, the Secretary of State may ask the County Council to carry on the home for that period. Discussions on future options for the site will continue. Very careful plans will be made for all the children in conjunction with their home local authorities. It should be possible for some of the children in further education to stay on the site in a smaller unit to finish examinations in the summer and then be supported in the area in lodgings or other placements. Hampshire Social Services Department has offered assistance and support over the closure and assistance, where our resources allow, with any staffing difficulties. Section 58 of the Children Act allows for compensation to be paid to the local authority where there have been improvements on the site. This has not been the case here and no compensation is payable. THE FUTURE Negotiations will take place between NCH Action for Children and Officers of the Department and the Department of Health over future use of the site and future partnerships within the County. One of the units on the site could be suitable for children with severe learning difficulties and challenging behaviour. There are also other options being explored.

Alresford The branch has recently been redeveloped, in a cupboard a box was found, some long lost selection toys have been saved. A Spectro Rocket, also a metal car with the number 53 and a metal egg. All three items were probably made in the 1960's. Why they were put away, we might never know, unless a former resident would like to come forward, but until then 'finders' keepers' applies. The only question I have to ask is - Who has got my cricket bat? When I left Highfield in 1968, it was left in the Houseparent's bedroom, it was normally left in her care, I think they were worried that I might hit one of the others with it out of anger.

Gravesend - Industrial School at Milton. 1875
The Milton Industrial School is relocated to Farnborough in 1898.

Certified 15th March 1875 for 150 at Parrock Hall, which was a damp old country mansion in a depression. Removed to Farnborough and re-certified in 1898 for 100 boys, in 1903 and 1916 for 150 boys. Took the title NATIONAL CHILDREN'S HOME at Farnborough.


1884 - Superintendent Mr Tyson; matron Mrs Tyson; schoolmaster, Mr Delamere; assistant schoolmaster Mr Atkins.

1891 - Superintendent and matron Mr & Mrs H.Tyson ; schoolmaster Mr Jewells.

1893 - Superintendent and matron Mr & Mrs Tyson ; schoolmaster Mr Jewells ; assistant Mr Wilson. Under general remarks - Sixteen boys have been sent to Canada this year.

Houses rented temporarily in Leigh-on-Sea in order to relieve the pressure of numbers in other branches


ALVERSTOKE, Stokesmead, Clayhall Road, Alverstoke, Gosport, Hampshire. 1930: 122 Children. General branch for 113 children. Beginning as a convalescent centre in 1887, the Alverstoke branch was largely rebuilt in the 1930s. The children are housed in self-contained flats, each group with its own staff. There are ample playgrounds and a large community hall which is used for all kinds of social occasions. Children go to normal school in the district, but there is a nursery school on the premises run by the local authority for our children and others from outside. This is housed in a fine property named in memory of the late Lord Wakefield of Hythe. Little Church, specially designed for children and dedicated to St Francis of Assisi, whose statue stands in the centre of a lily-pond before the front door, attracts many visitors to join in worship with the children. The stained-glass windows depict incidents from the gospels. The original small site was started in 1887 when Dr Stephenson came into possession of a small parcel of land with several usable buildings, in the 1930s this site was enlarged with more land given by Lord Wakefield of Hythe who had always been a generous benefactor to the NCH for over thirty years. This allowed five new blocks of buildings to be built. Additional money was raised by the Sunday Schools of England. The sanatorium was provided by Young Leaguers Union members from all over the country.
For more Alverstoke info, there is a group.






Chadwick House

See message below

To Mrs J W Zuick, No. 1 Salerie Esplanade, Guernsey. To My Dear Mother, Please if Reta comes for me this morning will you please let her and Gladys come in and play, if we tidy ourselfs up. We will not put our arms round their necks, and we will not squabble with one another. Well the space is filling up now, so good bye much love and kisses. Girlie.







Alverstoke Chapel

Originally built in 1936 as a private Church for the National Childrens Home it was converted to a spacious family home in 1986 and further converted to incorporate a ladies only health club in the mid 1990's. Swimming Pool, Jacuzzi, Garden, Bar Lounge, Reception Room, Kitchen, Turret Room.

The Chapel

ELMSTEAD WOODS New Farningham House, Wood Drive, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 5EU General branch for 45 children. Opened in 1969, the Home’s new branch in the South-East London area consists of three family group homes each accommodating about 15 children. The site is an area of woodland adjoining the open space known as Elmstead Woods and the children who live here enjoy plenty of room for play in natural surroundings, although they live within a London borough. The name preserves a memory of the Farningham and Swanley Homes for Boys whose funds, transferred to the National Children’s Home a few years ago, have made this new development possible.

HILDENBOROUGH Bourne Place, Nizels Lane, Hildenborough, Tonbridge, Kent School for 25 special needs children. Bourne Place was opened in April 1967 as a residential special school for slow-learning children of eight to sixteen years. The house stands in its own extensive grounds halfway between Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. At present 20 boys, five girls, five house staff and one teacher are resident and another teacher visits daily. A considerable programme of building is being carried out in consultation with the Department of Education and Science so as to bring the numbers up to 100.


HORSHAM Forest House, Winterpit Lane, Mannings Heath, Horsham, Sussex RH13 6LZ Nursery for 20 children. A large country house standing in 12 acres of grounds in a pleasant setting of Sussex countryside. Forest House has been used by the Home since 1951. The youngest children are cared for in a baby unit and many of the babies are adopted; those who stay beyond their first year go on into one of three family groups. Each group is in the care of a trained nursery nurse helped by a nursery assistant and student nurses. The training programme is arranged in co-operation with the Brighton Nursery Training Centre.


LIMPSFIELD Pastens, Pastens Road, Oxted, Surrey RH8 0RD General branch for 17 children. The work at Oxted began at the Laleham Orphanage in 1909. The transfer to Patens was made in 1946 when the house was opened as a residential nursery. The original Pastens was destroyed by fire in 1958 but new buildings were opened by Lord Hill of Luton in 1963.


ST. LEONARDS 1937 -1953 1953-
ST. LEONARDS Malmesbury House, 125 West Hill Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex General branch for 38 children. Malmesbury House stands in a prominent position overlooking the West Marina at St Leonards. There is a tradition of child care going back to 1869 but the National Children’s Home came here in 1953 when the children and staff of the Malmesbury branch found a new home in these premises. The Borough of Hastings is a stimulating and interesting community from which they have much to gain.

Image 1

St Leonards on Sea

WOKING Ashwood, Ashwood Road, Woking, Surrey General branch for 38 children. Ashwood, one of the most beautiful homes in the Woking district, was acquired in 1947 for the care of babies and toddlers. With the changing patterns of child care and to provide a treatment centre for a wider range of children, plans are being considered for providing a small nursery unit and additional accommodation receiving two groups of children of all ages.

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Ashwood NCH in 8 acres of land. The house and gardens was a glorious place for kids.
There was a bamboo forrest and summerhouse tennis courts and playground. At the bottom of the garden was a paddock with two donkeys toffee and carrot. Stephenson group was upstairs and John Litten and Ian Robert groups downstairs were the nursery groups.
It was also the regional headquarters.
Ashwood Place, a short walk from Woking Station (less than half an hour to Waterloo), is a distinctive Grade II Listed "Arts and Crafts" Mansion built in 1929 by M.H. Baillie Scott. Now converted into seperate houses £325,000 - £500,000 each.

Image 1 Ashwood Place is Baillie Scott's largest house commission, and was built for a Thomas Derry. One of a large group of designs produced with A.E. Beresford, with whom he formed a partnership, Kornwolf was particularly enamoured with the building.
Thanks rosyannebee for the info.






South West

BRISTOL Holmwood, Passage Road, Bristol BS9 3HY General branch for 30 children. In the suburb of Westbury-on-Trym, three miles from the centre of Bristol, a spacious and well-built house was acquired by the Home in 1943. Two family groups are accommodated in the original house, now more than 100 years old, and one group lives in a newer house in the grounds, Perkins House, built in 1954. The two houses stand in gardens of great beauty and interest.


CARDIFF Closed in 1933
Newport Road, Cardiff transferred to Penarth

Image 1 CARDIFF Clarendon, 16 Cyncoed Avenue, Cyncoed, Cardiff, Glamorgan CF2 6SU 1930: 34 Children. General branch for 14 children. The present Cardiff branch consists of two houses situated together in one of Cardiff’s residential areas, and 14 adolescent boys, aged 11 to 18, are helped to gain independence and to adjust to a return to the community.

Sister Margaret Scorey

Click on these links to see photographs of Sister Margaret Scorey and her children at Cardiff.
(Downloads take about two minutes each - click save- if the download box gives the option).
No.1 Cardiff 1946-52

No.2 Cardiff 1952-55


DINAS POWIS Ardwyn, Dinas Powis, Glamorgan CF6 4HG General branch for 13 children. The branch at Dinas Powis was a gift in 1959 from Mrs L N Liley. This is a well-built house standing in extensive grounds with a fine outlook over the old village of Dinas Powis. There is accommodation for 13 children who live as one family group. They play an integral part in the life of the community and there is a constant stream of visitors, including local youngsters, who come for coaching in football.

Dinas Powis

EBLEY 1921
EBLEY Ebley House, 235 Westward Road, Ebley, Nr Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 4SY Nursery for 21 children. Built of Cotswold stone and standing in beautiful grounds, this branch is situated on the main road between Stroud and Stonehouse. Since 1943 it has been a nursery with a group of nine babies and two groups of six children between one and four years. There are staff nurses in charge of each group and these are assisted by student nurses, as Ebley is a recognised centre for training for the National Nursery Examination Board. There is a small day care unit and a spacious conservatory where grapes once hung and luscious fruits and plants grew, now serves as a nursery school for young children from the neighbourhood as well as children of the branch.

Girls at Ebley

EBLEY 2007
Ebley House was bought in July this year by the Cotswold Chine School Charity. It is currently being prepared for change of use (from offices) into a Steiner waldorf school.

NEWQUAY 1930: 51 Children.

The family in their winter clothes


Ready for all types of weather at Newquay

Ironing Day

PAINSWICK, Gyde Home, Painswick, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL6 6RB General branch for 48 children. Gyde House is delightfully situated on the hillside above the old-fashioned Cotswold town of Painswick. Opened in 1919 by the trustees of a local charity, the National Children’s Home assumed responsibility for the work in 1935. Large dormitories have been converted into smaller bedrooms and other alterations have been made to adapt the premises to the family pattern. For a long time there were boys only at Painswick but girls and younger children have been introduced, so that there are now four family groups with an age range from two to sixteen.




PENARTH Headlands School, Paget Place, Penarth, Glamorgan CF6 1YY 1930: 108 Children. Approved school for 55 junior boys. The Penarth branch was a gift in memory of Major J A Gibbs, DSO, killed in the First World War. Originally this was known as The Gibb''s Nautical Training School and run by the NCH. Later it became an approved school for boys, run by the NCH with the name Headlands School. The old building has been modernised and a new school block, gymnasium, hostel for older boys and headmaster’s house have been added. The grounds occupy a beautiful position on cliffs overlooking the Bristol Channel. This is difficult work since many of the boys are seriously disturbed personalities and Headlands has made a special contribution by providing for boys needing close individual help and attention within the traditional family group system of the National Children’s Home. Boys are helped to go out into the local community and there are valuable links with outside organisations.

Sister Monica with the boys from Sommerville House which was her house.

The majority of boys that were placed in NCH Junior Approved Schools had not committed any crime, being placed in an Approved School was simply a safe place to house a child.

One famous ex Penarth boy was Stanley Unwin (giftius gabikus) born in 1911. In the early 1920's he was sent to the National Children's Home in Congleton. In the mid-1920s he was dispatched to the Gibb's Nautical Training School run by the NCH at Penarth in South Wales. From that point on everthing became actyup in spotlighty.

Penarth Nautical School
Equipped For A Useful Career

Dr Who The BBC have used Headlands as a location for the 2005 series of Dr Who. In The Unquiet Dead, an old empty Victorian school in Penarth was transformed into the various elements that made up Sneed's funeral parlour.

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Thanks to the Captain for the use of the Headlands photo.
For more of the Captains'' Photos please see:


PENARTH 1933-1959 Childrens Home
Children transfered from Cardiff. Relocated to new branch at Dinas Powys.

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Penarth - Seaview 1948

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Seaview 1948

SEATON Ryalls Court, Seaton, Devon EX12 2HJ Approved school for 42 junior girls. Ryalls Court, originally a farm, was adapted about 1920 to form a girls’ private school, with assembly hall, classrooms, dining-hall, dormitories and chapel, suitable for about 50 girls. In 1941 the school was closed and the property was acquired by the National Children’s Home and reopened as an approved school for girls. Many improvements have been made to the buildings, which include a very fine gymnasium with a stage well equipped for drama. The branch at present houses girls between 11 and 16 years of age, some of whom go out to work daily and others are under training. A pre-release hostel helps in the transition to self-reliance and independence.

The ultimate souvenir from Ryalls Court. The name plate, made of brass it is over 1kg in weight. Hands up who polished it.

c. 1970 When Ryalls Court was a Community Home for boys & girls.

c. 1970 When Ryalls Court was a Community Home for boys & girls.

c. 1970 When Ryalls Court was a Community Home for boys & girls.

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Originally the home of Lord Kylsant, on his death in 1939 it was sold to the NCH and used as a Home until 1957.

The majority of boys that were placed in NCH Junior Approved Schools had not committed any crime, being placed in an Approved School was simply a safe place to house a child.

Click on this link to see photos of Sister Margaret Scorey and her boys at Coomb 1941-46.
(Download takes about 2 minutes - click to save - if download box gives the option).


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Staff rest home opens in Barmouth, Wales

SWANSEA An NCH branch from 1948
SWANSEA Killay House, 365 Gower Road, Sketty, Swansea SA2 7AH General branch for 30 children The Swansea Orphan Home for Girls was founded in 1867 and had an unbroken record of service, first in the centre of Swansea and later at Killay House, until 1948, when the committee invited the National Children’s Home to take over the work. The transfer was accomplished with goodwill on all sides. The house was reorganised to take three family groups and boys were gradually admitted until there were equal numbers of boys and girls. The age range is now from two to eighteen. There is a nursery school for younger children and a new building is being erected in the grounds to accommodate twelve adolescent girls. The branch is fortunate in having a permanent camping site on the coast of the Gower Peninsula.

Killay House

Killay House

Killay House around 1900 Dyson Williams was a member of the famous family from Killay House who organised `country house` matches in the spacious grounds of their home in the late 19th century. Educated at Malvern School, Williams started to play in these games during his school vacations and also for the Swansea club, and as a result of some impressive innings, the well-connected gentleman made his Minor County debut for Glamorgan in 1901.Despite the demands of his solicitors practice, the right-hander found time to play for Glamorgan on an occasional basis until 1914, before taking over as the county`s Treasurer.

During the Great War, Williams served with the Welch Regiment, and was awarded both the Military Cross in 1916 and the D.S.O. in 1916. However, Williams returned home a shattered man, mentally scared by the horrors of War and for the next few years he suffered major bouts of depression. He also lost money gambling and several business deals failed, and as a consequence his solicitors practice closed. He took some solace in his involvement in cricket and in August 1921 he made his Championship debut playing against Hampshire at the Arms Park. Sadly this proved to be his only first-class appearance and within eight months he had taken his own life. Since returning to the U.K., Williams had become a close friend of French boxer Georges Carpentier and at the end of he 1921 season, he resigned from his Treasurer`s post with Glamorgan and went to work in London for a boxing promoter. He hoped for a change of fortune, but he continued to lose money and had further bouts of depression. Tragically, he was found dead in his London office in April 1922 having committed suicide.

NEW HOME FOR SWANSEA ORPHANS PURCHASE OF KILLAY HOUSE AND GROUNDS Feb 1929 A purchase which has been hailed with delight by the matron of the Swansea Orphan Home and will be even more so by the children when, they realise its implications, is, to place the Swansea Orphan Home for Girls soon at Killay House, formerly the home of the late Mr. and Mrs. Morgan B. Williams and their family, and lately the property of Mr. George Bransby Williams. The house and grounds will be generally acclaimed ideal for the purpose. LARGE PLAYGROUND. The deal which involved several thousands of pounds, has been swiftly completed, for Killay House was for some time only let, and the opportunity came when the quest for a premises that would completely fill the requirements had seemed hopeless. They had searched for a long time for a premises away from the heart of the town, that would give room for a playground, and, if necessary, for an extension which the present cramped site prohibited. Killay House, besides happening to be peculiarly fitted for the purpose, having no less than four large reception rooms, had no less than 14 acres of level grass land for playgrounds and garden space, was away from the traffic and no further from school than was the present premises. In addition, there were two large stone outbuildings, one of which, the lodge, could be utilized for an isolation block; and the other (the stable and garage) could be converted into a covered playground, or laundry, in order to complete the scheme. Ready In A Few Weeks’ Time It was hoped that with quite moderate alterations, which Mr.O.S. Portsmouth was designing, the present house would accommodate the 55 children and the staff of five or six, and that in a few weeks they would be in their new home. There will be great gain to the children, whose airing and grass playground had been hitherto dependant on the months’ holiday provided each year by Mr and Mrs Andrews generosity at Horton. Another pleasing feature of the arrangement is that the margin between this purchase and the sale of the present home. And also the cost of the adaptations, will be more than covered by the hansom bequest of Mr Roger Beck. Mr Beck was the best friend the house ever had and his bequest has remained in gilt-edged securities awaiting some such opening. Mr C.W. Slater has been horary solicitor for the home in this matter. The Swansea Orphan Home for Girls was founded in 1867 and had an unbroken record of service, first in the centre of Swansea and later at Killay House, until 1948, when the committee invited the National Children’s Home to take over the work.

Swansea Christmas 1961 Christmas countdown with the Advent calendar at Killay House Swansea. Lunch is a 24lb turkey. Father Christmas comes twice to the children, once on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas day at 7pm when he emerges from the woods at the children's home.

Christmas 1961
Parcel Packing Time at Killay House

Killay House Chapel 1964

Raymond Hadden
Carol Cleversley

Children from Killay House were given a special treat of seeing the "Wizard of Oz" at the Plaza Cinema Swansea. Mr Snell (back of the group) financed the outing to the cinema. Feb 1965 A wider selection of press cuttings relating to Killay House can be found on the page More NCH History

KIDDIES HELP OUT The children of the National Children's Home, Killay, Swansea, are given several monetary gifts each year and in return love giving gifts to some other charitable cause. During the past year, they have collected for a "Transceiver" for the Flying Doctor service in Africa. In the picture with the Matron, Sister Violet Taylor, are the children under her care with little Andrew pedalling for all his worth with young Rosemary trying to send a message. (South Wales Evening Post)

Not every child is lucky enough to have a fort in the garden, but the children at the National Children's Home, Killay House, Swansea, are the exception. The Fort, which was used in the Swansea Carnival, was presented to the home by Hughes Morgan and Company, who built it for the carnival, included in the picture are: Mr Robert Morgan and other members of the firm, and Sister Nora Miller, who is in charge of the children. 28 July 1965

Killay House The Girls at Rest


Killay House 40th Anniversary July 1988 A service to mark 40 years of The National Children''s Home at Killay House, was held at Sketty Methidist Church. Lady Mayoress of Swansea, Mrs M Morgan, Mr Tom Cunningham gardner at Killay House, Miss Audrey Harris, Howard Morgan, Sister Olive Holland, Mr Tom White NCH''s Director of Social Work, Sister Violet Taylor the first Sister in charge at Killay House 1948-68, Mr Clive Williams Member of the NCH General Comittee and Chairman of the NCH Swansea & District Association of Friends, Sister Peggy Greenway, the Rev Michael Newman the principal of the NCH, Sister Sybil Perrott, Mr Gerry Shaw, Sister June Coe, Mrs Joan Cunningham, Mrs Marion Stone, Sister Elizabeth Whitehouse, and the Rev R Ward Davies Minister of Killay Methodist and Chaplain to NCH Killay House.

Summer 1971 Holiday for Ex NCH Children The Gang of Three Just because I'm the tallest, it does not mean I'm the eldest, but guess who gets the blame when we get caught.

SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAY AT SWANSEA August 1971 Twenty children whose ages ranged from 10 to 15 years, spent two weeks holiday at Killay House, Swansea from August 14th to 28th. The children were all either in NCH or local authority care under the Family Aid scheme. Sister Stephanie Hall, who was in charge of the party at Swansea, sent the following report to 'Family News'. The physical structure of Killay House in its beautiful grounds was ideal for the holiday plan. Sister June was in charge of the branch at the time of arrival, and the welcome she and the staff gave the early holiday staff arrivals, and the hard work they put in making up beds and explaining the working order of the House, before turning out of the house into the pouring rain to a wet camp field, went a long way to make a successful start to the holiday. (Those who normally lived at Killay House, were sent away to live in a field for the two weeks that Killay House would be occupied.)

The children came from a variety of backgrounds but their real need appeared to lie in the fact, that they required a holiday where they could relax away from family tensions, and, if possible, be given an opportunity to express some of the feelings brought about by such tensions. All staff were introduced to the children by name, explaining who they were, what they were doing prior to the holiday, and their ages. (It was agreed that the staff could be called by their first names rather than their normal titles). We explained that there were no fixed bed times, but the children could please themselves what time they went to bed, as long as it was before the staff. They would be told the night before what time breakfast would be, and if they did not wish to have breakfast they could remain in bed until the day's activities started. At first the children were very quiet about the house, but as they began to relax the house always seemed full of noisy chatter, and it must have been good for some of them to escape to their various rooms and places in the house and garden, where they could be on their own. Towards the end of the holiday, settling down in bed became almost a ritual, when the children would ask that all the staff went to their rooms to tuck them up, kiss them good-night, and chat. These 'chats' were the times when the children shared with us their fears and their feelings about the tensions in their family lives. The staff were sensitive to these times, and it was felt that a large part of the benefit of this holiday was achieved at these times. At first, the staff who had had little experience of this kind of structure were themselves wary, looking for leadership and watching out for incidents or unruly behavior. They were able to discuss these things in the evening gathering of staff, and the way they co-operated at every possible level was outstanding. The children formed holiday relationships with the staff and each other, and there was a great deal of emotion shown at parting from each other on August 28th.

Killay House The Old and The New The new George Thomas House is now almost ready, the cost is around £100,000 and has taken two years to complete. The new building is going to be a hostel for twelve older boys and girls.

09:00 - 04 October 2006
The closure of part of the National Children's Home centre in Bodmin last week will mean longer waiting lists and less choice for vulnerable children and their families, claims an NCH supporters group.The closure, which has led to seven job losses, follows a decision by Cornwall County Council not to renew its NCH contract for assessment and family support services.
The closure of part of the centre last week meant seven staff were made redundant, including those who run groups supporting vulnerable parents and the social workers who carry out one-to-one work with children in adoption preparation or who may have to go into foster care.
The decision affects between 25 and 30 children at any one time who will be working on an individual basis with social workers, whilst the family support groups will have about a dozen parents receiving help.


BIRMINGHAM The Donor stipulates that home must be for orphans only. Princess Alice Drive, New Oscott, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire 1930: 271 Children. General branch for 124 children. Nursery for 20 children Founded in 1882 on a site just outside the city boundaries, the Birmingham branch was intended to meet the needs of orphan children of Christian parents. Queen Victoria gave permission for the orphanage to be named after her daughter, Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse, who died in 1878 of diphtheria, caught while nursing her own children. The original building scheme included a school hall, which is now the chapel. Nine family houses grouped round the middle field and additional school premises were built before 1906. Later a sick-bay, community hall, swimming bath and workshops were added. Four additional children’s houses were built in 1951-1953 and improvements brought the older houses up to modern standards. AS new nursery school and a residential nursery wee built and some older buildings were demolished. Placed at a road centre on the doorstep of Birmingham, the branch has easy links with the great city, but within the smaller community of Sutton Coldfield our families enjoy the warm, friendly and personal contacts of the dormitory suburb.

Princess Alice

Princess Alice

Princess Alice

Children at work

Scout Group

The Laundry

THe Choir


Princess Alice During the 1918 influenza epidemic it was recorded that there were ‘over 220 cases of influenza on the Branch’ out of a total population of 270. Scarlet fever was, however, a more persistent cause of trouble, and there were specially based outbreaks in 1901, 1902 and 1909. In this and other large Branches there are pathetic little corners in the local cemeteries where children were buried each year.

A Field. Birmingham c.1920's

Birmingham Dr. Watson House-Children


BOURNVILLE Bonner House, 172 Sellywood Road, Bournville, Birmingham B30 1TJ Flats and day nursery for 25 children. Bonner House, opened in 1970, is a block of flatlets in which unsupported mothers can find a temporary home with their children who can be cared for in a day nursery on the premises while the mothers earn their own living. The aim is to provide good living conditions and a friendly, helpful atmosphere in which mothers left alone with their babies through desertion, divorce or death can be independent and self supporting and have the opportunity of re-building their lives. Four flats have also been acquired nearby for single-parent families with more than one child.

BRACKLEY Evenley Hall, Brackley, Northamptoshire General branch for 57 children. A broadcast appeal in 1941 brought an unexpected response in the gift of a country mansion in Northamptonshire. The house was not released from emergency use until after the war, but in May 1947 it was ready and the first children were admitted. There are five family groups in different parts of the building, each with its own rooms and responsible for its own cooking and the buying of food and clothing. There are boys and girls, of all ages, in each family. There is a small chapel where services are held at regular intervals, but because the staff believe strongly in fostering links with the neighbourhood, there is an arrangement for joint services with the congregation in the town, some being held at Evenly Hall and some in the Brackley Chapel. The same policy of mixing with the community is applied to other activities and there is a strong link with the English Folk Song and Dance Society.

EDGBASTON The Croft, 15 Sandon Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B17 8DP Branch for seven girls above school leaving age In 1965 the Home bought a detached house in pleasant residential surroundings, overlooking a greensward, but on a main bus route into Birmingham. It provides a comfortable home for teenage working girls who are specially in need of a stable background and cannot return to live with parents or relatives, or be placed in ordinary lodgings. Independent cooking facilities are provided so that a girl can learn to live on her own while remaining within the house.

LADYWOOD Ladywood Family Centre, 2/4 Guild Close, Ledsam Street, Ladywood, Birmingham 16 Family centre and day nursery for 74 children. The Ladywood Centre carries on social work of a specialist nature in an area which by virtual demolition and rebuilding has now become a society of new houses and tower flats. The family centre cares for 74 children in groups of appropriate size and serves as a base for community work and a meeting place for social workers in the area. A research project is also under discussion.

LEAMINGTON SPA Longford, 1 Vicarage Road, Lillington, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire General branch for 14 children The Leamington branch is a large house bought by the Home and adapted for a family group of 14 girls and boys living with a married couple and assistant. It was opened in 1968 and has received a warm welcome from supporters of the Home, the local authority and the whole community.

NOTTINGHAM Springfield, Alexandra Park, Nottingham NG3 4JB General branch for 45 children. The work of the National Children’s Home in Nottingham owes much to the late Sir Arthur Black who gave Springfield in 1953 and South Bank in 1947. The two houses are in the same district and work together as a single branch taking girls and boys who live in mixed family groups. The branch is well situated not far from the centre of Nottingham and children and staff are able to enjoy their part in this thriving and busy community.


SELLY OAK Stephenson Court, 10 Tredington Close, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 4NP General branch for 14 children. The Selly Oak branch has a central position in a newly developed housing area on the Bournville Trust Estate. The house was specially designed by the Trust’s architect for the National Children’s Home and the first children were received in 1969.

SUTTON COLDFIELD Watson House, 133 Birmingham Road, Sutton Coldfiield, Warwickshire 1930: 29 Children. Babies Home General branch for 40 children. This large house in spacious grounds on the main road from Birmingham to Sutton Coldfield became a branch of the National Children’s Home in 1929 as the ‘Watson Home for Convalescent Children of Birmingham and Warwickshire’. From 1935 to 1939 it was a residential training nursery but on the outbreak of war it was taken over as accommodation for officers of anti-aircraft batteries. In 1946 it was reopened as an annexe to the Birmingham branch and housed 52 children with an age range from two to sixteen, at a time when there was severe pressure on accommodation. Three years later it was decided to reduce the number of children to 40 and to allow Watson House to function as an independent branch making its own links with the community in Sutton Coldfield.

Sutton Coldfield

WOLVERHAMPTON Red Gables, 83 Compton Road, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire WV3 9QH General branch for 12 children Wolverhampton is a town with a long tradition of support for the Home and a warm welcome was given to the news that a large house near the centre of the town was to become the Wolverhampton branch of the Home. Red Gables is pleasantly situated in a residential area close to a large park and with easy access to the countryside. The house was opened for six children in 1968 and extended to increase the accommodation to 12 in the same year.


North West

BIRKDALE 1921 and 1965
BIRKDALE Westdene Harewood, 39 Oxford Road, Birkdale, Southport, Lancashire PR8 2EG General branch for 12 children. The money for the purchase and equipment of this branch, opened in 1965, was drawn from the development fund established from the proceeds of sale of and at Sutton Coldfield earlier that year. There is an ever-present demand for places for children from Liverpool and other parts of Lancashire and Cheshire and this well-appointed family group home, with space for children to play and the amenities of Southport’s beach close at hand, makes a welcome contribution.

CONGLETON Danesford School, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 4EZ 1930's 125 Children, Junior Approved School 1970 Approved school for 72 junior boys The branch at Congleton was presented to the Home in 1923 by Mr John Hall and was opened as a boys’ branch in the following year. After 1938 all boys were committed by the courts but among them there has been a high proportion of boys from inadequate homes and the family group system of the National Children’s Home has contributed to their social rehabilitation. At first children attended local schools but the provision of classroom facilities in 1940 made it possible to provide the additional individual attention needed by the many boys who are backward educationally. Each boy can proceed at his own pace in both academic work and physical activity; all are given the opportunity to measure their own progress and so enjoy success. Danesford has recently co-operated with the Congleton Corporation in a scheme under which the boys provided some of the labour and skill required to build bungalows for old people near the school. This was the branch that Sister Pearl of Harpenden spent two years in training. The two years with naughty boys, gave the strict but fair attention that her boys at Harpenden would receive over the next twenty years. Most of the Boy's at Congleton had never done anything wrong, admittance to an approved school, was for their protection.

The National Children's Home Congleton Branch
A postcard of the 1930's
A very happy looking place.
Their treatment and our treatment was just the same. This was the Branch that the Sister that looked after me at Harpenden gained her training. When she joined Harpenden, she was given a Boys house, she always said she prefered looking after boys.
Morning punshments must have been so much easier with one large dormitory.

The Home

The Dining Room

One seven year old boy would like a higher chair.

The Recreation Ground
Any boy that has been playing in the sand pit and brings sand indoors on his socks will be (five letter word).

The Dormitory at Congleton
Nice cold floors by your beds. You do not get up until Sister tells you to get up, then you pull your top sheet, blanket and cover down to the bottom of your bed, so that your top sheet does not touch the floor.
You stand by the side of your bed whilst Sister makes a bed inspection.
Those boys that pass are allowed to go for their moring wash whilst their beds air. After your wash you make your bed.
Sister Pearl changed the rules little in the next twenty years whilst at Harpenden.

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Desford Junior Boy''s Approved School Leicestershire. 1966. Such a similar layout.

If you wet the bed, it remains stripped for the entire day to show every boy your problem.

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 Desford   - Bedtime 1966.

Thanks to Les for the photos


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Danesford School, Congleton.

For a large selection of photos from Les Ward

Please click on this link.




1998 Thursday 19 March HUGE NEW ESTATE PLANNED FOR TOWN MORE than 100 new homes are being earmarked for the site of a former children''s home in Congleton. The huge estate would be created by Bryant Homes, and would incorporate a church and children''s nursery which currently make their homes on the site. Bryant aims to build 112 homes on land previously home to the Danesford National Children''s Home, a development which includes 58 four-bed and 15 three-bed houses. Some 15 two-storey starter homes would also be created on the West Road site, in addition to 24 two and three-bed flats. The New Life Church and a nursery group currently use the old school teaching block as the Danesford Community Centre, which would be retained as part of the massive new development.

2006 The building has now been converted into luxury flats. A two bedroom flat is £225,000, but you do get two bathrooms.


EDGWORTH Crowthorn School, Broadhead Road, Turton, Nr. Bolton, Lancashire BL7 0JS
1930: 303 Children. Special school for 141 children
1972 was the centenary of Edgworth, the first branch of the Home outside London, a gift to Dr Stephenson, who asked his colleague Mr Alfred Mager to take the first party of children to Lancashire.
Mager faced the task of converting a rat-infested, tumbledown inn into a home, and 100 acres of barren moor into green and fertile land.
Boys helped to quarry stones and build houses and by hard work a remarkable transformation was accomplished.
Since 1953 Edgworth has become a residential special school for boys and girls who are educationally backward. Classes are so organised that each child receives individual attention at his own level and stress is placed on practical studies and positive achievements.
The spirit of ‘I can do’ is fostered to overcome the frustration caused by previous failure. The children live in small groups in homely houses or flats with houseparents, who take an interest in each individual’s social progress and educational achievement.
There are separate houses for senior boys and senior girls where older children can be encouraged to be more independent and self-reliant. At the heart of all this work is the beautiful chapel which is in daily use.

Edgworth The original Wheatsheaf Inn


Building Works c.1906

The Engineering Shop

The Clog Shop

The First Snow


Edgworth c.1973



From the air c.1950s

Drawing by R. McColl

Edgworth 1904 The boys building the reservoir, This was called hard work.

Edgworth 1971 The boys building something, This is now called play.

Opening of the war memorial organ 13th Sept 1950

Edgworth For the history of the Edgworth Branch, 'The Edgworth Story' by Gordon E. Barritt, Published by the NCH in 1972

The Edgworth Childrens Home Web Site


This is the website for all the ex boy's and girls from The Edgworth Home/Crowthorn School and families to be able to keep in contact and share their news and views about what The Edgworth Home meant to them.
In July 2002 Crowthorn Special needs Residential School (formally known as
During my 18 years of working at Crowthorn School. I became fascinated by the Edgworth Home's Great History and have written a book "Edgworth to Crowthorn" - The story of a Lancashire Children's home - Published May 2005. The book charts the history of the Edgworth Home and includes many moving recollections from the ex boy's and girls. £ 8.00 P&P Free (UK only) or add £3 for overseas postage.
Contact Information Edgworth Childrens Home, c/o 23 Hardmans, Bromley Cross, Bolton, Lancashire. BL7 9XR.

Over the years I have had the great pleasure of meeting many of ex boy's and girls who return for an annual Reunion in May each year.
The Reunions still take place today even though the the school is closed and the buildings are now sold, such is the strength of feeling for their "Home". The Reunion for 2003, 2004 and 2005 were held at 'The Barlow Institute' in Edgworth. 

Edgworth Home - Crowthorn School Reunion 2005
On the 2nd May 2005 The Edgworth Home children met up like they have done for many years before, but since the closure of the Home in 2002 the annual reunions have taken place at The Barlow Memorial Institute, a most fitting venue since this was built in honour of Mr James Barlow (The Methodist benefactor of the Childrens Home) Mill owner of Edgworth Village.
This year saw a record number of ex-Home children and staff return, mainly due to the memorial service held for a much loved 'Sister' of the Home-Sister Irene Rowson.
Sister Eluned and Sister Gladys both gave moving readings during the Church service. The ex boys & girls travel from far and wide to visit their 'Home' Some travel from as far afield as Canada & Australia It was a lovely sunny day which began with the founder’s service at 11am in the Edgworth Methodist Church followed by a buffet lunch at the Barlow Institute.
Tom Roberts the organiser of reunions (a Home boy himself) gave a welcome speech and a display of photographs spanning the years plus a slideshow was well received. Many visited the Home site on the day which is now destined to become a residential hamlet. It was a most enjoyable day, meeting and greeting childhood friends. Anita D Forth (‘Miss Anita’ 1983-2001)


From the Bolton Evening News, first published Tuesday 16th Dec 1997. FILM star Shirley Anne Field was back home in Bolton yesterday - to launch a Hollywood-style hall of fame. The 1960's sexpot, who grew up at The National Children's Home, Edgworth, set her handprints in concrete at Middlebrook Retail Park to become the first celebrity to be immortalised in a new cinema tribute to screen stars. Shirley arrived at Edgworth at the age of five from London during the war because her mum was ill and dad was serving in the forces. "There was no one to look after us," she said. "I can still remember the 11-hour train journey up here on my own." But 11 years at the children's home and Crowthorn School gave her the confidence to carve out an illustrious stage, screen and TV career. Her films have included The Entertainer, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, as well as Lady Chatterley's Lover.

The former Crowthorn School is ready for a new lease
From the Bolton Evening News, published Monday 16th Jun 2003.

IN 1872 Edgworth Children''s Home was the first National Children''s Home (NCH) to be established outside London.
Today it is about to be sold as an entire village. Karen Stephen visited the moorside residence that once gave hundreds of deprived youngsters a place to call home.
It''s the silence. The silence is deafening. No more the sound of children laughing and running along the corridors, bouncing on beds, squabbling over toys in the playrooms and arguing who has the last piece of cake in the kitchens.
Today the place is deserted, save for the odd bits and pieces left by the last residents of Crowthorn School.
But its history is almost tangible. The original children''s home was founded in 1872 and became Crowthorn School in 1952, a school for children with special educational needs. Crowthorn finally closed its doors on July 27, 2002 due to increasing financial and staffing pressures.
The original home''s founder was Rev Dr Thomas Bowman Stephenson whose vision was a place in the countryside that would provide the children who lived there with fresh air, a healthy lifestyle and -- perhaps most importantly in the Victorian era -- a stable home and sound education.
The home became a self-contained village with its own butcher''s shop, bakery, herd of cattle, stonemason, hospital, chapel -- even its very own quarry. The youngsters lived in surrounding houses -- all built with money donated by local benefactors.
The first children arrived at the moorland site with nothing but their admission papers. Many of these files are still housed in the office of the main school building, Wheatsheaf -- originally an inn used for cockfighting and Sunday drinking.
Penny Dickinson, the housekeeper at Crowthorn for 10 years, had the job of clearing all 19 buildings.  "Some of the things we have found have been incredible," says Penny. "We''ve discovered building plans from the 1920s, old photos and the children''s personal files -- many dating from the very first intake."
And those early files reveal the pathetic existence of the children before they arrived at their new home. One boy arrived at just 15 months old -- records showed he had already been in the workhouse for the first seven months of his life -- because his mother had died in childbirth and his father, who lived on one room, couldn''t look after him and his brothers and sisters. Tracing his progress through his file, we discover he thrives at the moorside home and eventually, in his teens, lands a job as an office clerk in Hull. He kept in touch with the home by letter for some years.
A considerable number of the children emigrated to Canada between 1873 and 1931 where the NCH had a home in Hamilton, Ontario. But for those children who remained at Edgworth, especially the first intakes, their main task -- for the older ones of course -- was to build their school.
Together with the first governor, Alfred Mager and his wife, who was matron, they drained the land, quarried stone and prepared the site for the addition of further buildings. All without machinery. Other activities the children learned included clog-making, baking and dairying. Many of these skills served them well in later life.
Both wars had a massive effect on the school with the post war years seeing an increase in intakes -- fathers had been killed in action, mothers had died and children, including babies, were left at the workhouses. In 1952, the children''s home became Crowthorn School and provided education for children with special needs.
The school continued to provide the same kind of lifestyle as the the children''s home always had -- the children lived on site and the "village" was self sufficient. New classrooms were constructed -- metalwork, woodwork and art rooms, there were rooms for domestic science and a swimming pool was added in 1971. A sports hall came soon after. The children were encouraged to take part in a wide variety of outdoor sports , which for the majority would be their first taste of being able to run free amid rolling hills instead of smog-ridden inner city housing estates.
In 2002, Crowthorn finally closed its doors. Financial and staffing difficulties were growing, and the remaining children were relocated to similar establishments around the country.
Today, in the kitchen of Howarth residence, once home to a dozen or so youngsters, mugs, plates and glasses sit on the draining board. The cupboards are empty but were left full of food when the children left en masse one day in July last year. The playroom''s pool table is home to a host of abandoned toys, perhaps once much-loved and cuddled by tiny hands and a walk upstairs to the bedrooms reveals the artwork of the last residents -- a childish scribble on the wall, just above the Coca Cola border. A couple of football posters adorn one wall, a tiny t-shirt thrown in the corner of the room forgotten by its owner.
The whole place has an eerie, almost Marie Celeste feel to it. Look out of a bedroom window onto a glorious summer''s day, and you gaze at the desolate playground, its swings -- once flying high with excited youngsters -- now sway forlornly in the summer sunshine.
Yards away, the graves of 48 children from the home -- some who died more than 100 years ago -- lie in Edgworth Methodist Church.
The children, aged from four months to 21 years old -- were laid to rest in two unmarked graves and forgotten for 61 years. But last year, John Cartwright who died in 1875 aged nine, Henry James, aged 11, Charles William McGovern aged four months and 45 others were remembered in a memorial service and a headstone placed on their last resting place.
The Crowthorn site is a sad place. Sad because this was a home and a school that offered and gave hope to hundreds of children over the years.
Children who have gone on to make better lives for themselves, here and abroad, and who return to the school year after year for reunions.Perhaps for them there is no sadness. Just happy memories.
As Penny Dickinson says: "This place was unique and has touched the lives of many. My hope now is that, whoever buys it, treats it with respect."
Sale attracts £7m offer. CROWTHORN School is currently for sale. The complex covers 24.4 acres and includes19 properties. Blackburn and Darwen council have drawn up a development brief and Manchester-based Matthew and Goodman are acting for the sellers.
"The ultimate decision will be made by the trustees of NCH and we expect a decision in the autumn of this year.
"The village will be sold as a whole and, while I am not in a position to say what the outcome will be, some of the offers have expressed an interest in constructing a residential development."
Thanks to Clive for finding this item in The  Bolton Evening News.
© Newsquest Media Group 2003


FRODSHAM Newton Hall, Frodsham, Nr. Warrington Cheshire WA6 6ST 1930: 303 Children. 1973 General branch for 145 children. Nursery for 12 children. Branch for 12 children with special needs. Founded in 1903, Frodsham is a large community with chapel, lecture hall, administration block and family houses. Most children go out to school, but some whose progress has been retarded by lack of ability or emotional handicaps can attend a remedial class on the premises. There is also a nursery school for the youngest members of the family and for a number of children from the neighbourhood. Across the road, Firbank House receives a number of children with special needs who are cared for by a skilled staff with psychiatric supervision. Situated within convenient reach of the large conurbations of Manchester and Merseyside, the branch has a wide range of facilities which are readily adaptable to varying needs.

The houses were set round a circle. Most were named after NCH benefactors. Each house block had four self-contained units each with eight to ten children cared for by a Sister. The flats were number from 1 to 16 anti-clockwise from the bottom right-hand side of the circle. In some cases two flats (one above the other) were made into large houses with an upstairs and downstairs. Gayhurst has reverted to its original name of Newton Hall and is a residential home for the elderly All other buildings Red Marley, the flats, the chapel, Boston, Firbank House, Orchard End, Firbank Cottage , Haworth Hall , Stephenson House and Springside are private Luxury flats and houses.

Newton Hall was established by the NCH (National Children's Homes). In 1902 £20,000 was left to the NCH by a Miss Fowler in memory of her father, John Fowler. The Newton Hall estate was purchased with his money and in 1903 the first two houses were occupied. It was the tenth branch of the NCH. Frodsham ceased to be a branch of the NCH in 1985.

Frodsham 15th May 1909

15th May 1909

15th May 1909

October 1914

Frodsham c.1930

Buildings: Haworth Hall - for concerts and plays. Red Barn - for storage. Craft Centre - now gone. Sick Bay/ Boston House Nurse and Brownie helper – Miss Joan Locke Nursery School Mrs Sanderson. Gayhurst the original Newton Hall Mr and Mrs Barlow and Mr and Mrs Reece. Red Marley (The governors/superintendent’s house) Situated opposite the entrance on the far side of the road. Springside Nursery (the original Newton Hall hospital when it first opened. Firbank Cottage (for the nursery school mistress, Mrs Sanderson) situated next to Fir Bank House, across the road from Newton Hall, behind the nursery, Springbank. Firbank House (diabetic Unit) Just left of Red Marley. Orchard End Mr and Mrs Jones (originally the babies house at the beginning of Newton Hall) behind Gayhurst. Caswell staff housing. Mountville staff housing - Mr and Mrs Tilley. Stephenson house (administration block, store, and staff sleeping and training quarters. 4 x staff housing situated next to Boston house Mr Pollard, Mr Hook, the Palmers. 4 blocks of houses around the circle housing 4 flats in each from 1960s onwards. As you enter the drive to Newton Hall, you turn right to the nursery, 1st block, and then it starts at flat one and so on. Springside Nursery: headed by Sister Elsie Cadman and Mrs Jones was the cook. Original House Names William Walker Fowler Memorial House Mountfield Caswell House Charles Garret House Stephenson Haworth Hall Newton Hall House Firbank. Caswell :Mr Finn & Family the gardener lived there for many years, then a Mr and Mrs Bradshaw. He was the Welfare Officer. Mountville: Mr and Mrs Tilley. with the following information provided by their daughter Alison. My Dad’s job title was Assistant Superintendent and he was responsible for all premises and vehicles ie contracting out of construction/maintenance/purchase etc. My Mum’s job title was Superintendent’s Secretary. Both of them did a lot of ‘hands on’ work with the children in addition to their normal jobs. They kept in touch with a number of “special” old boys and girls. There were over 20 of them at Mum’s funeral and many had travelled long distances to be there. My Dad lived until his late 70’s but kept in touch with a number and again there were a few at his funeral.

Mountville was the home of Mr & Mrs Tilley and Alison. In addition to their administrative roles, Mr & Mrs Tilley organised many activities with the children including annual summer camps to Southport, snooker club and craft group in the library on Tuesday evenings. Alison helped with these and also with Brownies each Monday evening. She and Miss Locke took the Brownies on four pack holidays to Colwyn Bay and the Isle of Man.




Newton Hall Fete Day in full swing. This was taken during the mid to late 1970s. I believe that Fete Day was on or around the 28th May, annually, but can't be certain. The Fete was open to all of the public and was a special day as it was the reunion for the "Old Boys and Girls" too. In my memory it was a very fun day and look forward to each year by us children.

Babies Castle

I Passed By Your Window

The organ in the Chapel at Newton Hall was installed in memory of the old boys who fell during the war 1939 - 1945, the plaque is inscribed as follows: TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN MEMORY OF THE BOYS OF THIS HOME WHO FELL IN THE WAR 1939 - 1945 WALTER E. COPLEY, SIDNEY H.JONES, DOUGLAS COTTIER, ERIC OSMAN, ALFRED DINHAM, JAMES A. PASCOE, FREDERICK ERDWIN, STEPHEN RUSSELL, DOUGLAS HORTON, BERNAHARD SHEPHERD. MISSING ALFRED SNELLING. THIS ORGAN WAS DEDICATED 24TH MAY, 1947 Sadly, I have no idea where this plaque is now!! Does anyone have an idea? Pat Hayes, reunion organiser, seems to think that it has been put in a Methodsit chapel somewhere in the UK, but not sure which one. Could it be Five Crosses, next to Newton Hall?


Music at Frodsham Mr Crewe was in charge of all musical activities at Newton Hall, including the choir, the handbell ringers and playing the organ in chapel. He also gave music and piano lessons to gifted children. He spent the rest of his working life in an admin role in the office block and he lived in Hoole, Chester with his sister who, like him, was single. I don’t have much knowledge of the choir’s activities but do know a bit about the handbell ringers. They were formed when an organisation donated a complete set of handbells that they no longer had use for. The two largest pairs of bells were too big and heavy for children to manage (considerable dexterity of the wrist is required). My Mum and Dad therefore became members of the Newton Hall Handbell Ringers, with the rest of the members being children. Mum and Dad were both pretty musical and their abilities kept the team in line. The group became very popular and traveled to fund-raising events and church services around NW England. Their rendition of Jingle Bells at the annual Carol Service was always a great success! The highlight of the period that the Ringers were in action was an invitation to play at a huge event at The Royal Albert Hall in London. This was a very nerve-racking occasion for the full team and Mr Crewe but they performed brilliantly and received national publicity. The only member’s name that springs to mind is Peter Wilde who was a teenager and he had the next largest set of bells after my Mum and Dad. Alison

Bonfire Night At Newton Hall I remember fireworks being set off on the ‘top field’ because they could be seen from my bedroom window on the back of Mountville. When I was younger, I used to go up onto the field to watch and then down a steep path onto the ‘top tennis court’ or ‘top tenny’ where the bonfire was. This was behind the block holding flats 13 to 16 to the left of the circle. It was never a tennis court whilst I lived there but apparently had been originally (so kept its name). Toffee apples and tins of home made treacle toffee were usually being passed around and I remember jacket potatoes being cooked in tin foil in the embers of the fire. I have an idea that in later years, the fireworks were set off on the circle. Alison Tilley

Return to Frodsham by Derek in 2005
It had been over ten years since my return to Newton Hall. I had already known, through my last visit, that Newton Hall was now a private housing development - same buildings; different uses. The entrance seems to have changed in my mind. It used to be quite long. On studying it again, I realise now that the entrance is just the same lengthwise, it is just that they have put two plinths halfway up the drive, in new brick, with the sign "Kingsley Green" in huge letters. This shortened the outlook of the main entrance. Half way round the perametre wall, they have torn down the old famous red Frodsham stone wall and replaced it with new red brick. The original stone still goes around the centre circle. The whole place is now full of flowers and shrubbery. This lends a totally different feel to the place. When I resided there, there was no shrubbery or the like, as Sisters and staff needed to see the children over a large area. The houses looked exactly the same, large and imposing! The nursery, Springside, was still there with its NCH symbol above the entrance door. There is no grassed roundabout now in front of it as there used to be. Flat one, Sister Margarat's also reamins the same with the four white pillars on the porch steps. They still look grand. Up to flat 5, Sister Ruth's and my old home. Looking the same. Steep stairs up to it where she would ring the bell twice from in order to get the junior and senior children respectively. There are lots of car parks adjacent the flats these days. Between flat five and flat 3 and 4, you can no longer walk through to the old playground and on to Boston House, Top Field etc, as it has been fenced off. The Chapel remains but not used as a chapel anymore. It basically looks exactly the same. Behind it the nursery school and staff eating quarters remains. If you look closely, you will find the old steps going up to Mountville. Horwarth Hall still stands, however, not quite recognisable as it is now a luxury bungalow. Further along and through you will come to Gayhurst, or Guest House. This is now called Newton Hall residential Home for the elderly. The building very much reamins the same as it did in Victorian times, however, I felt it needed sprucing up a little. Beyond this is the orchard, now immensly overgrown and not used at all. Beyond that is Orchard House, which I was unable to get to as it is highly fenced off. This was the orginal baby home I believe. Across the road from the main entrance sits Red Marley in all its glory. Next to it sits Firbank House in all its glory too. Absolutely two massive houses, one for the governor and one for special needs. Next to Firbank House is Firbank Cottage. A cute cottage and lived in by Mrs Sanderson when I was there who ran the nursery school. To get to Boston House and more staff houses, you will need to come out of the entrance of Newton Hall, turn left then 1st left up next to Warburton's farm. Then left again. This will bring you to Boston House plus about 5 or 6 staff houses of the day. Here you will see the old playground, the witch's hat and clangers remain, if a bit bedraggled. You will also spot a climbing frame in Top Field. Boston House is still there and the owner today is very helpful indeed. I couldn't see the tennis courts nor could I see the old craft centre. However, Red Barn was as large as life except it is now a luxury house. A beautiful location too. The Admin and staff sleeping quarters are still there,which is the first building on your left as you enter Newton Hall. The local council have slapt a preservation order on it. Outward structures cannot change and no building can be done on the circle. I am sure that many ex Newton Hallers visit the place. The man at Boston House said there had been one just a week before I arrived. Derek

One of the flats in 2005 at Newton Hall

What swinging fun we had on this ride, the Clangers! Originally, there would have been long chains hanging down from this frame. At the end of each chain, there would be a small wooden handle. You would grip this, run round, with all other riders, and then it would swing out with you in the air!! It was quite terrifying I thought. The ground was much lower then. Once again, the new owner of Boston House intends to renovate this ride. One week before my visit in 2005, somebody had stolen all the chains of the frame.

Many a great ride was had on this ride. Today it is worn out, and forlorn. However, the man who now owns Boston House, has acquired this ride along with the property told me that he intends to renovate this once amazing ride. The Witch's Hat is situated behind flat 5, Sister Ruth's, however, it cannot be accessed from Newton Hall itself. You now have to go up the side lane just before reaching Newton Hall.

This is a grave stone which is for the children who died at Newton Hall, Frodsham Branch. The garve yard is situated in St. Johns Church of England Church, Kingsley. To get there, just continue from Frodsham past Newton Hall itself, asS you enter the village of Kingsley, you will see the church on your left. The garve yard containing these grave stones, is on the right, opposite the church. Pat Hayes, organiser of the Annual Reunion for Old Boys and Girls of Newton Hall, is responsible for getting funds and erecting the stones.

Within St. Johns, Church of England church is a plaque in memory of the children who died while residing at Newton Hall. The plaque used to be in Five Crosses, Methodist Chapel,whichis just before you reach Newton Hall, coming from Frodsham way. They have recently refurbished the Five Crosses chapel, but according to Pat Hayes, they did not want to reinstall the plaques, which originally hung there. This seems rather odd, as Newton Hallers would have attended this chapel along with the one in Newton Hall itself. What is more odd is that NCH is a Methodist run organisation, while St Johns isn't.

Return to Frodsham by Rod (The Mole) in 2005
In 1964 I was admitted to this place with influenza. Another boy about my age (6-7) shared the same room, he had an extended stay due to trying to stop the extractor fan from spinning round.

In the new layout of all the houses, the original NCH logo has been left in place above each doorway, the perfect reminder for all to show the buildings original use.

NCH&O. National Childrens Home & Orphanage

The view from the church looking across the circle.

The Chapel It's hard for me to remember much about this building, as at the age of 6-7 years old, I was not allowed to go any further up the hill than sister Ruth's, because I made a go-cart that came apart and I ended up with a 6" nail in my butt!

View of the school

The first house to the left was Shaston House, the Sister in charge was Sister Christin Kelly.

MANCHESTER Morville House, 366 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy Manchester 21 Branch for six boys above school leaving age. Ogilvie House, 77 Alexandra Road South, Whalley Range, Manchester. Branch for six boys above school leaving age. Two substantial houses in Manchester have been adapted as hostels for boys in their teens who are at work or receiving further education. Trafford Park industrial area is very near; educational and recreational facilities are ideal and places are in great demand.

MANCHESTER Ogilvie House, 77 Alexandra Road South, Whalley Range, Manchester


RAMSEY Dalmeny, Ramsey, Isle of Man Ballacloan, Ramsey, Isle of Man 1930: 71 Children. General branch for 24 children The Ramsey branch dates from 1880 when Dr Stephenson was offered a house which had previously provided a refuge ‘for all the destitute and vagrant children’. A new house was acquired and adapted and many of the children received belong to the island so that family links can be maintained. Many of the children are under five, there is a relaxed atmosphere and this leads to a large, happy family unit.

Ramsey The work in the Isle of Man began in 1880. A certain Miss Gibson had been running a Children’s Home in Ramsey, especially for Island children, known as The Suzanna Gibson Refuge for Destitute Children. Before she died in 1880 , she asked that the Home become affiliate to Dr. Stephenson’s and so NCH in the Isle of Man was born the fiftieth branch to be established. Because of its situation surrounded by bracing air and sea breezes, Dr. Stephenson felt that this home should be used for those with failing health, and children were sent to the Island with great expectations of what the Isle of Man could do. Many returned to England as strong and healthy youngsters, but sadly, some did not make it. One little girl was one of a family of eleven ten of who had died. Little Meg also died of tuberculosis all the love and care she received on the Island could not save her and she died eleven months after her arrival. A kindly Ramsey friend gave £20 for her burial and headstone in Lezayre churchyard. There were always difficulties running the Home, which soon removed to Ballacloan, and the records indicate such incidents as when the food ran cut, and the children and staff prayed. A little later there was a knock at the door, and a local farmer delivered a sack of potatoes. For more on the Manx History. Please visit the Manx Methodist Historical Society at

The New Branch at Dalmeny

ST. ANNES 1942
ST. ANNES Elsmere, 200 St Annes Road East, Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, FY8 3HT General branch for 16 children Elsmere, in the lively seaside town of Lytham St Annes, only five miles from Blackpool, was bought to extend the work of the National Children’s Home in 1946. There are excellent links with churches and schools, and although it has not had a lot of history, this branch has already begun to talk with pride of the achievements of old girls and boys.

SOUTHPORT Westdene, 39 Park Crescent, Southport, Lancashire 1930: 24 Children. General branch for 20 children The present Southport branch was opened in 1953 and accommodates two family groups of children. This building replaced earlier properties in Knowsley Road and Westcliffe Road, one of which had previously been a school and the other a training home established by the local council and offered to the National Children’s Home in 1923.

One of three postcards sent from a girl at the Southport Branch in 1910-1911. All the postcards show various images of the London NCH Branch and were possibly provided by the NCH for the children to use. Dear Mother, I am very sorry to hear you are so poorly, I do hope you are getting on all right. Please be sure and let me know how you are. I remain with fondest love, from your ever loving daughter. Minnie

Hostel NCH accommodates Austrian refugees through its Riversmead scheme

North East

1930: 44 Children.

Providence House set back from the road. This was built in a heavy neo-Classical style in 1854 for Thomas Tombleson, one of Barton's largest land owners. After it ceased to be used as a family home it was first an orphanage run by the Lincolnshire Branch of the National Children's Home and then as an annex of the local secondary school. More recently it has become Barton's Library and adult education centre.

1930: 24 Children.

1930: 71 Children.

BRAMHOPE Hilton Grange, Old Bramhope, Leeds LS16 9HU 1930: 158 Children. Special school for 120 Special Needs Children. Then National Children’s Home first came to Yorkshire in 1907 when Mr and Mrs S T Fawcett offered a farm at Old Bramhope. Since 1957 the branch has been a residential special school for backward children. Many of those who come need not only special help in the classroom but also the particular care in a small family group away from home which the Home is able to provide. The whole well-equipped community works together to enable children to learn at their own pace in a stimulating, stable and friendly environment. Every effort is made to discover and remedy specific difficulties and special care is given to preparation for leaving and entering employment.

Bramhope c.1973

The Hilton Grange development was formerly an Edwardian children’s home and every effort has been made to conserve all the existing features within the site. The buildings were retained and restored and the majority of the landscape was protected during construction. “The children’s home had fallen into disrepair since its closure over 10 years ago and we wished to bring the site back to life by creating a highly desirable place to live.

Bramhope as it is today, flats on the site of Mr & Mrs Farrers House

Mr Berry

The Girls 1950s

Ronald standing next to Father Christmas

Christmas with Sister Maud

c1937 Front of the Hospital

HARROGATE Fairfield, 132 Pannal Ash Road, Harrogate Yorkshire HG2 9JN General branch for 92 children. The Harrogate branch, a gift from Mr and Mrs J P Hartley to the Primitive Methodist Church in 1907, came to the National Children’s Home as a result of the union of the Methodist Churches. From the beginning small houses were provided and boys and girls were brought up together before this was commonly accepted practice. The small houses blend well into the surrounding district and every effort is made to link the children with the local community through churches, schools, youth organisations and individual family contacts. The branch consists of grouped cottage homes, and has a chapel , comunity hall, sick bay, nursery school and a specialised unit for children with particular difficilties.

The Primative Methodist Orphans Home operated at the turn of the 19th Century. The name change in the 1930's to the National Children's Home and Orphanage. It catered for 120 boys and girls. The buildings were on the Pannal Ash Road, and occupied a site from the roundabout nearly as far as Harlow Avenue. The Home closed in 1984 and the buildings were demolished in the late 1980's to make way for the large housing estate.



House 5 & 6

Open Day

Harrogate NCH entrance Pannal Ash Road The demolition of the National Children's Home on Pannal Ash Road c. early 1990's. This was the main entrance. With thanks to Roger Crowther for the photographs and information.

Harrogate NCH site Pannal Ash Road From the NE corner of the plot - the houses on Beckwith Crescent are visible in the distance. With thanks to Roger Crowther for the photographs and information.

LINCOLN Steep Hill House, Steep Hill, Lincoln LN2 1LT General branch for 12 children In the heart of old Lincoln, close to the cathedral, a substantial eighteenth-century house set in a sloping triangular garden overhung by a mulberry tree is the Lincoln branch of the National Children’s Home. A modern wing has been added to the old house and there is an excellent modern recreation room in the grounds. There is a warm, family atmosphere to help boys to overcome their difficulties and good support is being received from the local community.


NEWCASTLE Elswick Road 1930: 40 Children. Stelling Hall, Nr. Newton, Stocksfield, Northumberland NE43 7UT General branch for 50 children The original Newcastle branch was a large house in Elswick Road, Newcastle given to the National Children’s Home in 1920. In 1954 a move was made to Stelling Hall, 14 miles west of Newcastle, where a large house and its ancillary buildings have been adapted for five family groups. It has been possible to provide a community hall and a library. Outdoor pursuits include swimming, fell walking and helping on local farms. There are useful links with local churches, communities and uniformed youth organisations.




SCARBOROUGH May Lodge, 25-27 Filey Road, Scarborough, Yorkshire YO11 2TW General branch for 20 children. The Scarborough branch, opened in 1966 and replacing the former Whitby branch, is a large house close to the town and to the beach. The house has been adapted, a recreation room has been added and a garden provides space for play. There is excellent liaison with schools and churches in Scarborough and good support is received from the whole community.

WHITBY Larpool Hall 1930: 48 Children. Replaced by Scarborough in 1966

Larpool Hall

Larpool Hall

Larpool Hall on holiday

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At the beach

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At the beach

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At The Beach

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Opening the Garden Party

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The potter at the garden party

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The Swings

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Fishing & Toys

Larpool Hall

Larpool Hall

The Hankie Girl is Sylvia Hollings at a Garden Party at Larpool Hall. The other girl is possibly Pam Neate

Sylvia Hollings been given away at her wedding by Charles Roycroft. Gov of Harogate, later to become Gov at Harpenden

Christmas Party Larpool Hall 1955.
With the RAF from Fylingdales

Roy Harrison, Sylvia Hollings.

Outside Larpool Hall
Clean & ready for church
Sister Mary Eastwood, Mavis Harrison, Alan Neate, Mildread Lyne, Patrica Knowles.

?, Frank Harrison, Roy Harrison, Sylvia Hollings

Whitby After Church 1953-4
Mavis Harrison, Sylvia Hollings, Sister Mary Eastwood, Keith at rear

Under the oak
Evelyn Harrison and her 5 siblings, plus the others in the group

Sister Evelyn Woolfe is third from the left. Other Sisters at Whitby Sister Marjorie Markham, Sister Mary Eastwood.

Returning from a Jamboree 1949-50.
Walking up Larpool Lane.

HULL 1980


GLASGOW Cathkin House, Rutherglen, Glasgow G73 5RD General branch for 38 children. Although the Home had received both children and financial support from Scotland for many years, it was not until 1955 that the first Scottish branch was established five miles from the centre of Glasgow at Cathkin House. This imposing mansion, standing in 30 acres, was quickly adapted for three family groups of boys and girls, but the demand for accommodation soon made it necessary to extend by the building of a further self-contained house. A hostel for eight teenagers has been built in the grounds and was opened in 1972, and new family accommodation is now being built.



PITLOCHRY The Archie Briggs House, Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5JW General branch for 17 children. The house and grounds of the Pitlochry branch were given by Mrs I Biggs in memory of her husband, and opened in 1966. A beautiful chapel has been built which attracts many visitors, especially during the summer months. There has been a warm welcome for our children from the whole community of Pitlochry and links with Church, Scouts, Guides, Cubs and Brownies and local youth groups are being fostered.



A souvenir saved from the scrap man, this was on the Chapel, measuring 18 by 13 inches and cast in bronze and with a weight of about 20kg.

Canada - Australia - New Zealand
Emigration to Canada was begun, and a reception home and headquarters established for the purpose in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1873. The first party of forty-nine children was taken out in May of that year by Francis Horner and settled in the newly acquired premises at Hamilton prior to placement in families and places of work. In the following year (1874), Thomas Bowman Stephenson himself took out a party of ten boys and thirty girls. It is clear that most careful arrangements were made about the selection of those receiving the children into their homes and for the children's continued education and future employment. It must, however, have been very difficult to maintain adequate supervision and follow-up in those days over great distances. Stephenson was a great traveller, and it was on visits to the Continent that he had seen work which he reinterpreted for his purposes in England. It was while he was in Canada preparing the emigration scheme in 1872 that he was told of the death of his sister, Camilla, a grievous personal shock to him. In 1888 Thomas Bowman Stephenson was made an honorary DD of Victoria University, Toronto. Those who wish to know more of Stephenson the man, and his work beyond the immediate confines of the Children's Home, must go to the standard work, Bradfield's Life of Thomas Bowman Stephenson, Kelly 1913, or to the short, readable Man for all Children, Epworth Press, 1968, by Cyril Davey. In 1909, the fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the Children's Home was celebrated. The total number of children who had been received by the Home was 7,924, of whom 2,008 were still resident, including 20 in Canada and 477 in foster-homes. Of the 3,709 who had left the care of the Home, 2,157 had gone to Canada, 50 to Australia and New Zealand.



Children's Home and Child Care Training Centre, Hope Gardens, St Andrew, Kingston Jamaica General branch for 28 children Training centre for 16 students The new Kingston branch is built on a site near Hope Gardens, not far from the University of the West Indies. It provides accommodation for 28 children in two family groups and for 16 students for training in residential child care.

DISABLED CHILDREN at the Jamaica National Children's Home (JNCH) can breathe easier as the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), has removed tons of garbage from an open lot next to their house. The area has since been fenced.

Changes to Branches
Change of use. Congleton to Approved School 1935 Penarth to Approved School 1936 Watson House Nursery 1935 Watson House Children’s Home 1949 Sunshine House, Alverstoke Special School 1952, Nursery 1962 Chipping Norton to serious Physically Handicaped 1953 Elmfield TB Sanatorium to Physically Handicaped & Special School 1955 Edgworth to Special School 1953 Bramhope to Special School 1957 Lea House, Harpenden to Diabetic Unit 1951 Firbank, Frodsham to Diabetic Unit 1949 and later to Special Unit 1966 Wellfield, Harrogate to Special Unit 1963 Branches that closed prior to 1960. Netherton Nurseries Ashfield Nursery, Harrogate Barton House Harrogate Doddington Newquay Malmesbury Whitby Southport (Knowsley Road and Westdene) Aubert Park Gloucester Drive Coomb Farnborough Newcastle (Old) Penarth (Sea View) 1939/40 (transferred to Dinas Powis)

London and Northern Home Counties Regional Officer: Mr G B Forrest, Highfield, Harpenden, Hertfordshire. Social workers visit more than 150 families helping to keep a link between the child in care and his own family, to select and visit foster-homes, and to support young people who have left our branches. There is also the work to keep children out of care which is called Family Aid and this now helps 30 families, most of whom depend on an unsupported mother. In conjunction with other societies, preventive work is undertaken with the families of men in prison. At Barking, in co-operation with the local Methodist Church and the local authority a worker is employed in helping problem families and recruiting volunteer help from the community. South East Regional Officer: Mr T G Thomas Ashwood, Ashwood Road, Woking, Surrey Every child is linked with a social worker, who undertakes family casework working in partnership with residential staff towards rehabilitation of the family. The social workers are also engaged in preventive work with families where there is risk of the children having to be received, in after-care of young people formerly in our branches, in finding foster-homes and in visiting children already boarded-out. One is also professional adviser to a community project in one of the Medway towns where a wealth of volunteer labour has been recruited. Another is a member of a team working in a South London borough dealing with the family problems that arise in a densely populated area. The work demands intensive effort and rare skill, but it brings deep satisfaction. South West Regional Officer: Mr C S Patient Holmwood, Passage Road, Bristol BS9 3HY Regular visits are made to one-parent families by social workers who become trusted friends of the family and are able to ease the burden of loneliness which many widowed and separated mothers have to bear. In some cases financial assistance is given to meet special expenses like the cost of school uniforms or the provision of a holiday. In this largely rural area opportunities for holidays for children from London, as well as from the urban areas of the region, have been developed and a number of needy families have found family accommodation, some in the homes of friends and supporters of the Home, some in branches and some in holiday accommodation rented for the purpose. In Bristol we are providing some help in a Church project for girls ‘at risk’. Midlands Regional Officer: Mr W T Clark, BA Princess Alice Drive, New Oscott, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire The long-established tradition of preventative and rehabilitative work in the child’s own home continues and there is an active team of social workers who are continually involved in after-care, fostering, adoption and casework. Purpose-built accommodation for the unsupported mother and her child is available in flats with one, two or three bedrooms. The Home provides a nursery nearby to care for the children while mothers are at work. At Ladywood the new day care unit is opened. Preliminary discussions have taken [place about the formation of a pre-school playgroup for children with social or physical handicaps in another part of Birmingham. Residential care in the branches is comprehensive, ranging in size from the small home for a dozen youngsters to the large campus for more than 100. North West Regional, Officer Mr L F Wicks 96 Wilderspool Causeway, Warrington, Lancs, WA4 6PU The large and densely populated areas of the industrialised north continue to throw up pockets of exceptional social need. Into these areas of need the National Children’s Home is sending social workers and endeavouring to provide, in co-operation with the Methodist Church and the local authorities, special facilities for day care, pre-school playgroups and family self-help. In addition to the commonly accepted role of supporting foster-homes, prospering family rehabilitation and standing alongside school leavers, our social workers are engaged in group work with inadequate mothers and seeking to make themselves available to encourage and educate groups of parents experiencing anxiety or difficulty with their children. North East Regional Officer: Mr B P Blades Hilton Grange, Old Bramhope, Nr Leeds LS16 9HU The work of the Home continues to reach out into the community, searching for needs which are not being met. In Gateshead and Newcastle pre-school playgroups are being run in conjunction with the churches and provide support for families of children ‘at risk’. A counselling service for children and parents is provided by a social worker in two large schools and we are also co-operating in an experimental advice centre, aimed at helping people with many problems. In the new town of Newton Aycliffe a social worker attached to a team ministry deals with family and personal problems. Some of our branches are co-operating with the Methodist Youth Department in the provision of holidays for children of families who would not otherwise be able to have one. Scotland Scottish Officer: Mr B Docherty Cathkin House, Rutherglen, Glasgow G73 5RD A social worker is to be appointed to undertake work on behalf of children at the two Scottish branches and to explore other opportunities of developing work of a specialised nature. Discussions have taken place with officers of the Scottish statutory authorities for social work, as a result of which the Home is planning an expansion of its residential provision in Scotland to meet new needs. This includes a hostel for older children, now completed, a home for children with special needs and a short-stay training centre.

Many thanks to Clive for hunting down many of the photographs that are on this page and the hours that were spent processing the text that has been used to give the history of each Home.

Most of the Homes are recorded in maps and ariel photographs, Click on this link and enter the post code of the Home you wish to see a map or photo of. Some of the Postcodes are now out of date, if the postcode brings a nil result try a slightly different last letter eg For Bramhope LS16 9HU will not work so try LS16 9HL, a simple change to the last letter should get the map and photo, it is best to select the scale of 1:10000 as the first view.


More Photos are to be found at


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