Hidden Lives Revealed. A virtual archive - children in care 1881-1981 * Image of handwritten text

Case 239

Case number: 239
Application year: 1883




Year of birth: 1873
Home: Harrow Home For Girls; Arnold Grove Home For Girls


This file deals with two sisters, L. and E. The girls lived with their mother and their siblings, their father having died from diabetes in January 1883. The mother received 7/- 6d per week assistance from the Poor Law authorities and she went out to work as a laundress. (The Guardians later withdrew this money as the children's attendance at school was so irregular.) The mother did not earn much and the family were very poor. As their mother was out working all day the children ran wild in the streets and played truant from school. It was felt to be important that they should be under more control and "properly brought up". On 9 January 1884 the girls were sent to the Harrow Home. E. was transferred to the Fareham Home for Girls on 23 February 1886. In January 1888 E's mother requested that the girl be returned to London where she could find her a situation near her family. She said that E. had written to her saying that she was not comfortable at Fareham and wished to leave. The Committee of the Fareham Home did not feel that it would be in E's best interests to leave. The girl was rather deaf and not suited to domestic service although she was doing well at laundry work.

The girl's mother was believed to have a very "mercenary" character and it was felt that she would "get hold of her daughter's wage if she was placed near her." The Committee wanted to find a position for E. as far away from her mother as possible. E. did not leave the Home at this time and on 18 May 1888 she went out to service in Market Drayton, Shropshire. In December 1888 news came that E. had lost her place because she had been "naughty." When her mistress was absent at hospital with the baby for a week E. apparently wore her clothes. The girl was returned to her mother, her former employer paying her fare. L. remained in the Harrow Home until 3 February 1887 when she was sent out to service in Beckenham, Kent. In September 1887 she left this situation and in November 1887 went out to service in Harrow. She later returned to the Harrow Home and then on 18 April 1888 she was transferred to the Arnold Grove Home for Girls in Nottingham. One year later she went out to service in North Luffenham.

Keywords: Behaviour; Disability; Employment; Maintenance; Poverty; Siblings; Law; School

Items: 1. Application to Waifs and Strays' Society for L. 29 June 1883
2. Application to Waifs and Strays' Society for E. 29 June 1883
3. Letter from the Curate of St Andrew, Willesden concerning the family's finances 15 August 1883
4. Note about a meeting with E's mother 20 January 1888
5. Letter from E's mother with note from Fareham Home attached [January 1888]
6. Letter from Fareham Home to the Revd Edward Rudolf enclosing letter about E. losing her situation 13 December 1888
7. Letter about E., enclosed with above item 12 December 1888

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