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

Ashurst Home For Girls

Photograph of Ashurst Home For Girls

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Ashurst Home For Girls

Ashurst, Kent

(1884 - 1888)

Ashurst Home was certified on 28 February 1884, as an industrial school for girls. These schools, which provided education and accommodation, were part of a government attempt to bring care to the most vulnerable children, such as those found habitually wandering the streets. The need for a new home of this kind in Ashurst (near Tonbridge) was brought to the attention of The Waifs and Strays' Society through the endeavour and 'earnest request' of Miss Ellice Hopkins. On 8 April the first two girls arrived - one from Grimsby, and one from Dorchester. The following morning, the Home was formally opened with a short service by the Rector of Ashurst, Revd WHO Polhill.

By 1886 Ashurst had found home for 15 girls, all aged 12-14 years old. An Inspector's report of that year offers an interesting insight into the life of the Home. The Inspector (H Rogers) found that regular education was improving the levels of literacy, and the library had been 'read and reread' by the girls. He noted that the girls were helping with the housework, and they were 'beginning to use the needle to make a few simple items of cloth.' Life within the Home contrasted sharply with the children's' previous experiences, and Mr Rogers found that some of them were 'moved to tears when he spoke kindly to them.'

The Home was only open for four years, closing in 1888.

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