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

St George's Home for Boys, Tunbridge Wells

Photograph of St George's Home for Boys, Tunbridge Wells

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St George's Home for Boys, Tunbridge Wells

Chilston Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

(1905 - 1981)

The Waifs and Strays' Society acquired the lease for 51 Upper Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells, in October 1905. Here they founded St George's Home for Boys. Many of the Home's first children had transferred from the Dover Home for Boys, which was closing. The Lord Bishop of Rochester dedicated the new Home on 26 April 1906. St George's could accommodate 27 boys aged 7-12.

Although the Home had only been open for three years it held its 21st 'Sale of Work' in 1908. This was when a home would sell work that the children and supporters had produced. These 'works' could range from a simple knitted scarf to a grand oil painting. The salesroom was tastefully and prettily decorated - with stalls draped in muslin and potted palms arranged on a platform at the far end of the hall. The sale opened at eleven o'clock in the morning - remarkably early for such an occasion. This earned the children praise about how dedicated and wide-awake they all were!

St George's Home for Boys was actively involved in the effort to help Britain in the First World War. Boys that were old enough to join up in the forces willingly went out to serve for their country. The ones that were too young stayed at the Home and made sandbags that were shipped to Northern France. In 1914 Mr Munro the Home's Master, also went out to help command the troops.

In 1926 the lease ran out on the Home, however the Society purchased an excellent building in the nearby Chilston Road as a replacement. Due to the Second World War the children were evacuated to Rock Ferry for part of 1944. St George's Home for Boys closed in 1955, when the need for a boy's home in the area lessened. The Society turned the building into nursery, which eventually closed in 1981.

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