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

St Christopher's Home for Girls, Altrincham

Photograph of St Christopher's Home for Girls, Altrincham

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St Christopher's Home for Girls, Altrincham

Stockport Road, Altrincham, Cheshire

(1911 - 1974)

St Christopher's was opened on 26 October 1911, with a dedication by the Bishop of Chester. Formerly a private residence on Stockport Road, the building was adapted and refurbished to cater for children. This was achieved due to the hard work of some notable individuals. 'Friends' of The Waifs and Strays' Society, such as Mr and Mrs Winstanley, Revd ER Tarbuck (the local vicar), and Mrs Saxon, organised meetings and fundraising events within the Chester Diocese. Local people donated items such as bedsteads, curtains and sewing machines.

At first St Christopher's housed 20 girls, who were looked after by two matrons. The Countess of Stamford was appointed as President of the Home's Committee, and Miss E Allen as Honorary Secretary.

During the early years, the girls participated in various grand events. On 21 October 1916 the Home held a Pound Day, and they received a record-breaking quantity of groceries and money. In December 1930 St Christopher's organised an 'Elizabethan Fayre and Maske', which was attended by Lady Beatrix Wilson, President of the Children's Union. The Bowdon Assembly Rooms were decorated as an Elizabethan village, and the children dressed in period costume.

Another important social event of 1930 was the appointment of a new matron, Miss Patefield. A religious ceremony within the Home marked the occasion. The Home borrowed a portable altar and turned the dining-room into a temporary chapel, with the girls forming a choir. St Christopher's ties with the Bishop of Chester were also maintained, as his visit of 1936 testifies.

After the Second World War, the Home underwent considerable change. From 1946 to 1947 the children were briefly housed in a Methodist holiday home in Llanfairfechan, whilst their house was redecorated. Around this time, the Home started admitting both boys and girls. The children were relocated again when, in the late 1960s, the building was renovated to bring it in line with modern standards of child-care. It was reopened in August 1970.

The Home closed permanently in 1974 when the residents moved to the existing Ingledene Home at Bowdon. This was partly to gain more space and also because a new road was being built close to the Home. By 1983 Ingledene was used as a therapeutic centre which specialised in the care of severely emotionally damaged children. Noteworthy individuals in these later years include Miss Wilson, a matron from 1944 to 1967, Mrs Hollingsworth, a matron from 1957 to 1980, and Mr GG Cooper, who was chairman of the House Committee in the final years.

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