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

Calthorpe Home For Girls, Handsworth

Photograph of Calthorpe Home For Girls, Handsworth

Discover more about this imagelink opens in a new window

Calthorpe Home For Girls, Handsworth

Handsworth, Birmingham, Warwickshire

(1893 - 1920)

In 1892 the Society decided a home was needed for girls in the Birmingham district. The local branch of the Society managed to collect £450 through various fundraising events, subscriptions and donations. This proved enough to secure a large detached building at the junction of Charles Road and Church Hill Road. The Home was opened on 29 September (Michaelmas) 1893 by Lady Calthorpe, the Honorary Secretary for the district, with the Bishop of Lichfield performing a dedication ceremony.

Throughout its lifetime, Calthorpe Home accommodated between 20 and 35 girls (aged 7-14). The local community provided the majority of the funding for the Home with only a little help from the Society. Two notable individuals were Mr and Mrs Gough-Calthorpe, who regularly invited the girls for tea in their house. Here the children would play on the swing and seesaw (a plank laid over an old bathtub) and eat bread, jam and cake.

Every year the Home celebrated their anniversary with an annual Pound Day. This was a Society custom whereby visitors to the event donated a pound in money or a pound in weight of goods the Home could use. The majority of donations were food but sometimes the homes were given cloth, tools, and anything else useful.

In 1903 the Home underwent significant renovation, during which the girls were sent to other Society homes. Calthorpe Home was re-opened by the Lord Bishop of Lichfield on 25 July 1903. Two new matrons were appointed at this time, though their names are unfortunately unknown.

Notable members of staff include Mrs Lloyd, who worked as the Home's Honorary Secretary until 1898, and Mrs Adams who replaced her. Mrs Clendon worked as the Secretary from 1910, and Mrs Silver occupied the post in the final years. In 1920 the Home was renamed as Handsworth Home for Girls, and closed in 1939 when the residents were evacuated because of the Second World War. The building re-opened as Handsworth Nursery in 1945.

The Children's Society UNESCO logo Big
           Lottery Fund logo Wellcome Trust