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

St Giles' Home For Boys, Wrexham

Photograph of St Giles' Home For Boys, Wrexham

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St Giles' Home For Boys, Wrexham

Rhosnesni Lane, Wrexham, Flintshire, Wales

(1902 - 1980s)

In 1901 the Waifs and Strays' Society received £500 from a special trust established by the famous Welsh railway engineer, the late Mr Benjamin Piercy. This money was spent on obtaining a large house on Chester Street, which was converted into a new children's home for 20 boys (aged 7-10). On 16 December 1902, the Home was formally dedicated to its name-Saint, St Giles, by the Bishop of St Asaph. After the ceremony, the Home was officially declared 'open' by Lady Penrhyn.

Christmas was one of the busiest and most exciting times of the year for the boys of St Giles' Home. In 1912 they spent several weeks in preparation helping Matron to make the puddings and cakes, and decorating the house with 'holly, mistletoe and evergreens'. On Boxing Day the boys were treated to an afternoon of entertainment, with a 'Magic Lantern' display and 'an exposition of thought-reading' which left the boys 'highly mystified and delighted'.

In 1913 the Society decided to expand the Home, and plans were made to build a larger house which could accommodate 36 children. Construction work started on 28 November with a special ceremony at which the foundation stone was laid by Lady Harlech. The building progressed quickly, and the new house was up and running by the end 1914. The Home was formally opened on 4 June 1915, with a dedication service conducted by Archdeacon Fletcher.

The Scout movement was an important influence in most of the Society's boys' homes, and the children of St Giles' formed their own patrol in 1917. Throughout the 1920s the boys were regularly taken on Scout camp, where they learned survival skills and enjoyed plenty of outdoor exercise. The boys also started their own unique industry in the 1920s, making different types of brushes for housework and laundry.

St Giles' closed on 14 March 1941, and the majority of the boys moved to the Sampford Peverell Home. The building was re-opened on 5 April as a war nursery for toddlers in the Society's care, but went back to being a home for older children after the War. St Giles' finally closed in the 1980s.

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