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

Audenshaw Home For Girls

Photograph of Audenshaw Home For Girls

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Audenshaw Home For Girls

Audenshaw Road, Audenshaw, Lancashire

(1894 - 1939)

Formerly a residential townhouse (Trafalgar House), Audenshaw Home was converted into a children's home by a local mill owner called George Ashworth. He seems to have taken a very active approach. The newsletter of the Society Our Waifs and Strays reported that 'he and his wife slept on the floor because the beds had not come, and they got it ready all by themselves.'

Once it was finished the Home was formally opened with a ceremony performed by the Lord Bishop of Manchester, on 24 April 1894. A large crowd gathered which was made up of people from the local community, and important individuals in the Church. After the ceremony there was a sale of 'useful and ornamental work', which took place inside a large marquee in the garden.

During the 1890s Audenshaw underwent some major changes. In the summer of 1897 Trafalgar House was expanded. It now housed 20 children, rather than the 12 it coped with before. During the building work the children were taken on holiday to the seaside at Bolton-le-Sands for one month.

In November 1898 the Home was certified to receive children under the Poor Law, which meant that it could now admit girls from the most impoverished backgrounds. This measure had immediate effect, allowing three children in the Stockport Home to be transferred to Audenshaw. They were all under the care of the matron, Miss Squire, who according to one visitor was 'not only a judicious teacher and advisor, but also a loving mother at the head of their happy little home.'

During its lifetime Audenshaw Home held regular festivities for its children, who were aged 6-13. Every year the girls had a 'Summer Treat', which was paid for by people in the local community. In 1898 this involved a trip to Worsley, where they dined at the Lady Ellesmere Coffee Tavern, and walked through the grounds of Worsley Hall. The Home also held an annual party at the beginning of the year, for which each girl was allowed to invite a friend from school.

Other events at Audenshaw Home included the annual Pound Day, which in 1900 was expanded to include a fête with a performance from the Audenshaw Amateur Minstrels. Many of these special occasions were organised by Miss Hadwen who was Honorary Treasurer for many years, and Miss Judson who was Honorary Secretary for most of the Home's lifetime.

The Second World War had a big impact on the Homes within the Manchester branch of the Waifs and Strays' Society. In 1939 Audenshaw was forced to evacuate to the Ashbourne Home in Derbyshire, where the children were to stay. It reopened in 1945 and continued until 1970.

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