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

Standon Farm Home For Boys

Photograph of Standon Farm Home For Boys

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Standon Farm Home For Boys

Standon, Staffordshire

(1885 - 1947)

The Standon Home was established in 1885, as only the second boys' home in the Waifs and Strays' Society. The opening ceremony was held on 27 May, during which the foundation stone was laid by Miss Maria Anderdon. This was a fitting honour, as she had donated over £2,000 to the new Home - more than £120,000 in today's money. On this same day, the Bishop of Lichfield conducted a dedication service, which was a type of ceremony used to open most of the Society's homes. Accompanied by a large crowd, the Bishop walked around the ground floor of the Home saying prayers in each room.

Standon Farm initially housed 50 boys (aged 10-14), and the Home almost doubled in size in the first few years. Following building work in 1889, the number of boys was increased to 60. Three years later a new wing was built on the farmhouse, which included a new kitchen, a scullery and a large dormitory. Standon Farm could now accommodate 90 boys, making it one of the Society's largest homes. The age range was changed in 1908, when Standon began housing boys until the age of 16.

As a purpose-built farm, the Home was well equipped to train boys in agricultural skills. They cultivated over 50 acres of land, which was leased from Miss Anderdon's brother, Thomas Salt MP. The boys were responsible for looking after several horses, which were used to pull the ploughs and harvesters across the fields. The horses also powered the pumps that drew water from the farm's well, which was more than 150 feet deep.

Most of their produce was sold at local markets, and a regular stall was kept in nearby Stoke-on-Trent. As well as their fruit and vegetables, the Home also sold butter and milk from their herd of cows. The quality of their produce was highly regarded, and in 1915 they won a special award for growing the 'Best Crops in the District'.

In addition to their farm work, the boys were given lessons in various trades under the supervision of their long-serving master and matron, Mr and Mrs Craunston Day. The boys learnt some advanced woodwork in their carpentry workshop and they even made all the fixtures and fittings for the Home's sickroom. This was opened on 25 April 1900 with a special ceremony presided over by the Countess of Dartmouth. Another important trade was carried out in their tailoring workshop, where the children learnt how to make and repair their own clothes.

There was no shortage of sports and games for the boys, and they had their own playing field. When one visitor arrived at the Home, he found 70 boys all playing one game of football 'with two balls and no sides.' After 1903 the Standon Farm also had its own outdoor pool, which was the setting for the Home's annual swimming gala.

The Home closed in 1947.

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