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

Sunnyside Home For Boys, Frome

Photograph of Sunnyside Home For Boys, Frome

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Sunnyside Home For Boys, Frome

Oakfield Road, Frome, Somerset

(1887 - 1951)

When the Society found it necessary to close the Clapton Home for Boys 'in consequence of the inconvenient nature of the premises', it was decided to open a replacement home in the diocese of Bath and Wells. The resultant move was to Sunnyside Home for Boys in Frome, in 1887.

Sunnyside had needed a degree of alteration to make it suitable for Clapton's 24 boys. This included a new bathroom - with a hot and cold water supply, an opening between the dining room and kitchen so the boys' meals could be passed through, and the erection of a strong wooden fence along one side of the playground. Paper was also laid on the stone floor of the Master's sitting room, to stop any damp from rising and spoiling the carpet.

After all the alterations were completed, the Bishop of Bath and Well conducted the Home's dedication ceremony on 26 June 1888. As the Home did not have a chapel the service was conducted in the dining room, amidst the apologies of the Master and Matron, Mr and Mrs Cunningham. No one seemed to mind, and the day was rounded off nicely with a choral entertainment conducted by Mr Bromage.

Sunnyside was certified as an Industrial School. This meant that it housed some of the most impoverished children, and taught them skills or a trade that would help them find employment when they left the Society's care.

The Home had its own printing works and the boys were taught the trade of printing. The works produced most of the Society's flyers, cards, annual reports and other publications, and also dealt with printing for other organisations. The printing works were expanded in 1923 to deal with the workload.

The boys also attended the local school and had regular check-ups with the Home's resident doctor, Dr Parsons.

In 1894 the Home's lease expired, and a larger building was built in Oakfield Road. This was renamed St Aldhelm's Home for Boys, and the Bishop of Bath dedicated the Home on 4 October 1898.

Many of the Society's Homes helped troops during both World Wars. In 1914 some of Lord Kitchener's troops were camped nearby. The boys from Frome thought it would be a nice gesture to entertain the troops - so they marched their small band over to the campsite and gave a concert for free. After this the Home continued to help the War Effort and in 1915, Sunnyside became a War hospital.

Boys from Rudolf Memorial Home, Farnham were transferred to Frome in 1945 and the Home closed in 1951.

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