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

Dacre House Home, Rock Ferry

Photograph of Dacre House Home, Rock Ferry

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Dacre House Home, Rock Ferry

Rock Ferry, near Birkenhead, Cheshire

(1926 - 1976)

Dacre House, the replacement for the earlier Rock Ferry Home, was opened in February 1926 by the Bishop of Chester and had room for over 40 boys (aged up to 15 years old). For three months in 1934 the residents had one hour swimming lessons each evening in a local pool and this led to a swimming and life-saving display in November 1934. Two hundred visitors watched the display and prizes were awarded to the boys who performed best in each of the eight events.

In 1935 the residents spent their annual summer holiday in Llandulas in Wales. The boys also took part in The Birkenhead Pageant staging scenes from 'Nicholas Nickleby'.

The residents were evacuated at the beginning of the Second World War to Church House, Llandulas, Abergele in Wales. These residents were moved again in 1941, this time to Stoke-on-Trent. This was two days after the Llandulas building was badly damaged by a landmine which exploded close to the house.

In 1944 Dacre Home received residents from Homes that lay directly in the route of flying bombs. St George's Home for Boys in Tunbridge Wells were the first to arrive, followed by residents from the Leven and Melville Home who had originally been evacuated from St Leonards-on-Sea to Tallantire Hall, Cockermouth in 1940.

In 1961 the building was closed because of alterations and re-opened in 1962. In 1963 Rock Ferry was being used as a Family Home, an important element of this was the care of very young babies. When an infant was discharged from hospital and under 10 days old the Nursery Group gave them a much needed home before being fostered or adopted. In 1965 the Society was embracing the concept of 'all-range' Homes. Nursery groups as well as young adolescents were cared for in the same Home to create a real 'family' community. Rock Ferry was one of the first Homes to do this along with Court Lodge Home at Knockholt, Hawk's Lease Home at Lyndhurst and Pickering Garth in Hull. In 1976 Rock Ferry Home closed due to the increase in specialised residential care.

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