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

St Michael's Home For Boys, Highweek

Photograph of St Michael's Home For Boys, Highweek

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St Michael's Home For Boys, Highweek

Highweek, Newton Abbot, Devon

(1898 - 1920)

This Home was set up in 1898 when boys from St Michael's Home in Lyme Regis relocated to Highweek. All the children and their matron, Miss Nosworthy, were transferred to Highweek later in the year. They kept the same Honorary Secretary, Mrs Polehampton, and she helped them to settle into their new address. On 30 June 1899 she organised a drawing-room meeting for the benefit of people from the local area. Mrs Polehampton told them all about the Waifs and Strays' Society, and introduced them to the new Home. The local community seem to have responded warmly, and the children were invited to several picnics and days out within their first few months.

St Michael's Home could house up to 18 boys, who were aged 7-10. When Miss Nosworth announced her retirement in 1901, the boys all saved up to buy her a 'presentation Bible'. It was all too much to keep secret, and in the end Miss Nosworthy received her leaving present several days early.

The Boy Scout movement was an important influence in most boys' homes, and St Michael's was no exception. The Home competed in regional Scout competitions, and won the District Signalling Shield three times in a row. In 1913 the boys went on a Scout camp to East Riding, where they slept beneath big marquees in the countryside. During their holiday they travelled to the 'Spanish City' theme park at Whitley Bay. The boys went on all the different rides including 'Cyclone', 'Slide the Slide' and 'Captain Cook's Voyage to the South Pole'. They also visited the animals at the nearby zoo, and had donkey rides along the beach.

The lease on the Home ended in 1920, causing St Michael's to close. The children were all transferred to other Society homes.

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