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

Leven And Melville Home For Boys, St Leonards on Sea

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Leven And Melville Home For Boys, St Leonards on Sea

Ellenslea Road, St Leonards on Sea, Sussex

(1909 - 1950)

In his lifetime, Lord Leven and Melville was an active supporter of the Society. Most notably, he established the Talbot Manor Home in Bournemouth in 1890. When he passed away in 1906, he bequeathed a large sum of money to the Society, so that another new home could be established. Suitable premises were found on Ellenslea Road, in the Sussex town of St Leonards. This was adapted to accommodate 25 children, and named the Leven and Melville Home for Boys. The Home was opened in December 1909, with a dedication ceremony conducted by the Bishop of Chichester.

The building had a large entrance hall with a big playroom on the right. The Master and Matron's sitting room was situated to the left of the entrance hall, with a large prayer-room next door. On the first floor, there were two dormitories, as well as the Master and Matron's bedroom and a small dormitory for the smaller members of the family (the youngest was only five). The Home also featured a bathroom, which was built on top of the porch. On the top floor of the Home, there were four more rooms. Two were used as smaller dormitories, one was used as an assistant's room and the last was a sick-room for unwell children. The basement housed the kitchen and dining room, along with the cloakroom.

The Home also featured a large garden, which was subdivided so that each boy had his own patch to work. This was the Master's idea, and he hoped it would encourage some healthy competition.

With the outbreak of the Second World War the boys were evacuated to Cockermouth in 1940, and then to Rock Ferry in 1944. After the war the Home reopened for a short time, finally closing in 1950 when the remaining boys were moved to St Michael's House Home, Hoar Cross.

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