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

St Hilda's Home for Girls, Bradford

No image of this Home exists in the Children's Society Archive. If you have an image of this home please let us know at hlr@childsoc.org.uk.

St Hilda's Home for Girls, Bradford

Bradford, Yorkshire

(1926 - 1939)

In 1925 the decision was made to establish a Home for 'very young children in or near Bradford'. A Committee was formed to find a suitable building and it was anticipated that the purchase and equipping of the building would cost £5,000. Head Office had promised matching funding and so £2,500 had to be raised locally. Fundraising initiatives included: £10 to name a cot; £100 to name an In Memoriam Ward; and £1 for a brick.

By 1926 an existing Home, the Bradford Orphan Girls Home, had been offered to the Society and on 5 October 1927 the Home, which housed about 30 children, was officially reopened by Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles, as St Hilda's Home. The Guides and Brownies troops of St Chad's Home for Girls in Far Headingley, the Beckett Home for Girls in Meanwood and St Margaret's Home for Girls at Nidd provided a guard of honour. The Bishop of Wakefield conducted the ceremony of dedication.

In 1929 the Home was part of the Branch Jubilee Scheme which aimed to raise £10,000 to provide more places within the Society's Homes and Bradford got a new laundry as part of this initiative.

In 1936 the Home was described as being 'light and airy' with a 'large, sloping garden' and the bathroom as 'one of the cheerfullest we have seen, painted a pretty pink (by the Matron herself)'. Most of the girls were at the elementary school and two had received scholarships for the high school. The Home also had its own Guide troop.

In 1936 a percussion band was started at St Hilda's under the guardianship of Mr SS Moore, the Honorary Secretary of the Worcestershire Association of Musical Societies who had been visiting Bradford on other business. He provided the instruments and music stands, as well as lessons. After he left Bradford, staff from Swain House Primary School went to the Home to continue the teaching. When on holiday in Rhyl (a house swap with St Winifred's Home), the band was invited to play at the 'Musicians' Holiday' in Dolgelly. Mr Moore wrote of the band: 'St Hilda's have now one of the best bands in the kind in the country'. Their picture also appeared on the 'cover of Messrs Paxton's list of School Music'. In 1937 and 1938 Mr Moore went on to teach percussion at All Saints Home in Worcester and St Monica's Home in Cheltenham.

The success of the band continued and it played on the radio in June 1937 as part of a talk given by Mr Moore. The band also went to London to play at the Board of Education's Short Course in Music at the Royal Academy of Music. Later in 1937 the band featured on a gramophone record of Dr Geoffrey Shaw playing the 'Festival Suite'. The conductor Sir Adrian Boult visited the Home to hear the band and listened to them accompanying records of the BBC Orchestra conducted by himself. The band featured on a second record in 1938, this time accompanying Stephen Moore playing Schubert. The recordings were made when the girls were at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

In 1939 the residents were evacuated to St Hilda's Home for Girls, Rhyl, Wales.

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