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

St Nicholas' Home For Boys, Boldon

Photograph of St Nicholas' Home For Boys, Boldon

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St Nicholas' Home For Boys, Boldon

Dipe Lane, West Boldon, County Durham

(1906 - 1973)

St Nicholas' Home for Boys began life in 1905 when the plans and contracts were arranged for a home to be built on a one-acre plot of land in Boldon. It was hoped that this home would be as successful as the nearby St Cuthbert's Home for Girls in Darlington. The plans were put into motion very quickly, and by September the Marchioness of Londonderry had laid the foundation stone, which was then blessed by the Assistant Bishop of Durham, Dr. Hodges. The stone bore the inscription 'This stone was laid to the glory of God, by the Marchioness of Londonderry, September 21st, 1905, being the Festival of St Matthew'.

It was estimated that the Home would cost £2,000, of which £1,220 had already been raised by the time they held the foundation ceremony. St Nicholas' was officially opened on 10 July 1906 by Bishop Hodges and already had three boys resident.

One year after St Nicholas' opened, the Secretary, Miss Smith unfortunately passed away and was replaced by Miss Knight. Miss Lawson then replaced her in 1910, and by 1916 there was also a newly appointed Matron and Master.

St Nicholas' presented regular concerts, promoted by Mr HR Armstrong. This usually consisted of a choir made up of the Home's boys. The entertainments of 6 April 1907 made a healthy profit of £7 - which is the equivalent of around £450 today. A garden party, held on 18 June of the same year 'in the beautiful grounds of Herrington Hall' raised £38, and the 1908 Pound Day also proved very successful. On arriving people were greeted by a 'large flag with the name of the Home flying from the mast in the grounds [that] indicated that something special was happening'.

St Nicholas' closed as a home for boys in 1960, and reopened as a family home. In 1973 the residents and staff moved to St Aidan's, Tynemouth and the home was refurbished as as independent living unit.

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