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

St Mark's Home For Boys, Natland

Photograph of St Mark's Home For Boys, Natland

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St Mark's Home For Boys, Natland

Natland, Kendal, Westmoreland

(1894 - 1974)

On 1 July 1882 four boys arrived in the beautiful countryside of Westmoreland, and became the first inhabitants of St Mark's Home for Boys, Natland. Like many of the other Society's Homes, St Mark's was already in operation before it was entrusted to us. The Revd Charles Whitaker had founded the Home, and continued to support St Mark's and act as Warder after the Society took over in June 1894. St Mark's grew to house 25 boys who were aged 7-15. Canon Gilbert acted as the Home's Honorary Secretary until 1903 when he was replaced by T Ismay Barnes, who was also the Secretary to the Local Committee. Six years later, in 1909, Mr and Mrs Longville left as Master and Matron to work at the Bede Home.

1899 was an important year for the Natland Home as they had a running water supply and sufficient drainage installed. Now the boys could really forge ahead with their swimming! Swimming was very popular at this home and the boys constantly won awards and medals for their displays.

Like many of the Society's boys' homes, St Mark's had a Scout Troop. All good Boy Scouts know the motto 'Be Prepared', but the Troop was not ready for the events of their Summer camp in July 1909. Due to the typical English weather, the scoutmaster's tent blew away in the wind, and the boys had to pack early and go home! On 10 February 1912 the boys had their first practical lesson in scouting. The idea was to deliver a package to Mr Gandy, a member of the Local Committee. All the boys wanted to see the Troop proudly march down the road in their uniforms, and for a good view every boy from Natland lined the streets and every crossroads and junction.

St Mark's successfully continued through both World Wars and beyond. In 1960 the Home started to look after girls as well as boys. St Mark's ceased being a home in 1974 and became a holiday centre for children in other Society homes. It eventually closed in 1994.

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