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

Whitehaven Home For Girls

Photograph of Whitehaven Home For Girls

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Whitehaven Home For Girls

Victoria Road, Whitehaven, Cumberland

(c1860 - 1938)

The Whitehaven Girls' Home And Industrial Institution was set up in c1860 and according to its 1899 Annual Report its aim was to 'befriend destitute girls, especially orphans, training them in industrious habits, fitting them for domestic service and providing them with suitable situations'. The Home was transferred to the Society in 1905 and became St Agnes' Home for Girls.

The girls from the Home took part in various fêtes and bazaars to raise money for the Society. In 1906 they helped to look after the Society's stall at the annual Church Congress in Barrow-in-Furness. According to the Society's magazine Our Waifs and Strays the girls 'won gratifying praise for their manners and services.' At another event in 1908, the girls took part in a 'fête and bazaar' at the Barrow Town Hall. Over £185 was raised, which is the equivalent of around £10,000 in today's money.

Children's homes always tried to make Christmas a time to remember. One little girl wrote a letter to the Society's founder, Edward Rudolf, describing all the events of Christmas 1911. The children spent several weeks preparing for the day, by decorating all the rooms and helping to make the Christmas puddings and cakes. Each girl would stir the puddings three times 'and each time she stirred it she had to wish for something she would like for Christmas.' On the day itself, the children awoke at five o'clock to sing carols outside Matron's bedroom door, before opening their presents beneath the Home's Christmas tree.

The Home carried on its work for 54 years, finally closing in 1938. The girls all moved to the recently modernised St Margaret's Home in Nidd, North Yorkshire.

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