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

Helston Home For Boys

Photograph of Helston Home For Boys

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Helston Home For Boys

The Old Vicarage, 32 Church Street, Helston, Cornwall

(1901 - 1909)

Helston Home was opened on 5 June 1901 with a dedication service held in the garden of the house. The ceremony was conducted by several local churchmen, including the Bishop of Truro and the Vicar of Helston. Also present was the founder of the Waifs and Strays' Society, Edward Rudolf, who made an appeal for donations. He invited local individuals to contribute £3 per year, which would cover the cost of one child's clothing.

The Home could accommodate up to 24 boys (aged 6-10), who were looked after by their Matron, Miss Bailey. She only occupied the post temporarily whilst 'everything was placed in working order', and Miss Hunt replaced her shortly afterwards.

Every year on 8 May (Flora Day) the boys of the Home took part in Cornwall's famous 'Furry Dance', when all the inhabitants of Helston would walk in procession through the town. This is regarded as one of the oldest customs in the British Isles, and it is still celebrated today. The Lord Mayor of London attended the 'Furry Dance' of 1907 and was presented with a sum of 15 shillings by the residents of the Truro Diocese. The money was saved by the boys 'out of their weekly pennies', and went towards the Mayor's Crippled Children's Fund. An account of the day tells us that the event was greeted with 'delight by the boys who cheered the Lord Mayor vociferously'.

The Home closed in 1909, when the boys moved to a larger house in Newquay.

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