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

St David's Home, Broadstairs

Photograph of St David's Home, Broadstairs

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St David's Home, Broadstairs

Stone Road, Broadstairs, Kent

(1911 - 1940)

St David's Home was established in 1911, to replace the small convalescent home at Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. This new Home was considerably larger, offering space for 30 children. It was also perfectly located on the Kentish coastline with 'no obstacle between the house and the sea.'

St David's was opened as a convalescent home, which meant that it looked after sick boys and girls. Often these children were sent there from other homes for a short period of time, until they had fully recovered. Other children lived in the Home on a permanent basis, as they suffered from more serious illnesses.

In 1915 the Revd Thomas Turner died and left a substantial legacy to the Broadstairs Home. This was used to build a substantial extension, which doubled the size of the original building and made space for 15 more children. Because the extension was so large, it was formally opened with a dedication ceremony in 1916, conducted by the Bishop of Dover. The Home also changed its name to the Thomas Turner Convalescent Home in honour of its wealthy benefactor.

The newly expanded home was only open for a few months, before the troubles of war forced it to close. It was rare for homes to be disrupted by the First World War, but the coastal location of Broadstairs made it an unfortunate exception. All the children and the staff were evacuated to the old Home at Hurstpierpoint, where they stayed until peacetime. They returned to Broadstairs in 1919.

Although many of the children were only at Thomas Turner's for a temporary period of time, they still became involved with the life of the Home. The older girls would help with the housework, the laundry and the cooking. They would also take the younger children out for walks, or supervise them when they played in the garden. This was regarded as valuable training, as it would help them to find work in the future.

Every child in the Home spent the afternoon outside in the fresh sea air, which was seen as an effective way of improving health. They would spend this time walking along the beach, or playing on the lawn. Gardening was a regular pastime for the children, and they each looked after their own flowerbed.

The Home closed in the summer of 1940 and the residents were evacuated to Devon. The building reopened as St David's Nursery after the Second World War.

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