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

Walsham Farm Home For Boys

Photograph of Walsham Farm Home For Boys

Discover more about this imagelink opens in a new window

Walsham Farm Home For Boys

Walsham, nr. Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

(1896 - 1921)

Walsham Farm Home was established in 1896, after several years of planning and building work. The farmland (over 37 acres) had been donated seven years earlier by Bishop Wilkinson. He also sold the estate's manor house to the Society for £2,000 - around £120,000 in today's money. The Society purchased many outbuildings, including an old bailiff's cottage and several large barns. After extensive alterations, the Home was opened to accommodate 40 boys (aged 10-16).

Walsham Home was run as an arable farm, and the boys were taught how to grow different types of crops. This work was carried out using horse-drawn ploughs and harvesters, and the Home even had its own stable-yard to house the animals. Harvest time was always the busiest time of year, with the boys working long hours to make sure they took in their full yield. Most of their produce was taken to local markets, with the rest being used in the Home's kitchen.

The Society was keen for its children to receive a diverse education, and the boys of the Home were trained in various manual trades. One of the outbuildings was used as carpentry workshop, where the boys learnt how to make simple items of furniture. In 1914 the Home was presented with a new lathe by a carpenter's guild, with the words 'truthfulness' and 'beauty' inscribed on the front. According to one of the donors, Mr Fighiera, this served 'as a constant reminder of the great lesson the lathe could teach.'

There were many members of staff during the Home's 25 year history, but the most important were Mr and Mrs Gill who worked as the master and matron for many years. The Home closed in 1921.

The Children's Society UNESCO logo Big
           Lottery Fund logo Wellcome Trust