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

St Luke's Home For Boys, Burgess Hill

Photograph of St Luke's Home For Boys, Burgess Hill

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St Luke's Home For Boys, Burgess Hill

2 Crescent Road, Burgess Hill, Sussex

(1901 - 1971)

When this Home opened on 18 October 1901, a full day of events was organised to commemorate the occasion. In the afternoon, a service was held in the local parish church with special readings from the Gospel of St Luke. The gathered crowd then proceeded to the Home, where Archdeacon Sutton dedicated St Luke's to its name-Saint. He was assisted by a choir, which sang appropriate sections of the service. Afterwards a public meeting was held, attended by Edward Rudolf, the founder of the Waifs and Strays' Society.

At first St Luke's could house 26 boys, and expansion work in 1909 made room for seven more. The boys were aged 7-13, and they all attended the local school. They were looked after by the Master and Matron, Mr and Mrs Pugh, who both worked at the Home for many years. Two other important individuals were Mr and Mrs AJ Bridge, who worked as Honorary Treasurer and Secretary of the Home until the 1920s.

In the early years the Home became famous for its annual 'bazaar and fête', which consistently attracted a large crowd. Stalls selling a variety of goods were set up under a marquee in the Home's garden, and they always made a healthy profit. In 1916 they made a total of £157, which is the equivalent of around £6,000 today. Visitors to these fêtes were treated to an afternoon of entertainment. The boys of the Home would dress in their military clothes and perform musical drills. They would also stage a pantomime, as in 1915 when they performed Robby, Bobby Crusoe.

St Luke's was open for 70 years, and looked after more than 400 children in that time. The Children's Society's shift in focus to fostering and adoption and the planned loss of the Home's grounds due to the expansion of Burgess Hill's town centre led to St Luke's closing in 1971. The houseparents and some residents relocated to Hawk's Lease, Lyndhurst.

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