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

St Garmon's Home For Boys, Betws Garmon

Photograph of St Garmon's Home For Boys, Betws Garmon

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St Garmon's Home For Boys, Betws Garmon

Betws Garmon, Caernarfonshire, Wales

(1917 - 1920)

Formerly a country mansion called Tanygarreg, St Garmon's was presented to the Society by a local man, the Revd FM Parry. He also paid the significant amount of £600 for the bedrooms to be adapted and furnished, to house up to 24 children.

The Home was formally opened on 27 September 1917, when the Bishop of Bangor came to dedicate the Home to its name-Saint. Despite the adverse weather many church people attended the ceremony including Edward Rudolf, the founder of The Waifs and Strays' Society. Most of the assembled crowd were Welsh speakers, so all of the speeches were translated by the Vicar of Caernarfon. In a gesture of gratitude, Revd Parry was appointed as the Home's Honorary Chaplain, with Mrs R Lloyd as Honorary Secretary.

In 1918 the Home received residents from the recently closed Fron Home For Boys, Bodorgan.

St Garmon's location at the base of the Lleyn Peninsula and near Snowdonia, proved to be a mixed blessing. The countryside provided the Home's residents with a welcome contrast to the English slums, where many of them had previously lived. This is illustrated in a quote from the Society's newsletter from 1920, which asks 'What others of our boys have had the privilege of climbing to the top of Snowdon, and where else can you gather and eat bulberries?'

Unfortunately its remote position also made it an expensive home to send children to, and it proved difficult to find a master for the Home who 'could settle down and become acclimatised.' After only three years, St Garmon's closed.

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