• Welcome to this forum . We are a worldwide group with a common interest in Birmingham and its history. While here, please follow a few simple rules. We ask that you respect other members, thank those who have helped you and please keep your contributions on-topic with the thread.

    We do hope you enjoy your visit. BHF Admin Team

Birmingham Childrens' Homes in the 1950s

Status
Not open for further replies.
D

di allen

Guest
I've only recently found this site and whilst browsing saw your message regarding Hawthorne House. I worked there in the late '60's. It was a 0-5 year olds residential nursery run by Social Services and was in Hamstead Hall Avenue. The building still exists and is still owned by Social Services although the Nurses home is long gone and I believe is part of a housing estate. At the time I was there the Matron was Miss Judson, quite a formidable lady and she was assisted by 'Sister', whose name I can't remember. The nursery was split into family size units with children of roughly the same age. There was also a school room which the pre school 3-5's used to spend time in. The schoolage children attended Grestone Avenue Junior School. There was also a Baby Room where the under 1's were cared for. A sad reflection of those times was that this unit always had several babies in residence. If you want any more specific info I'll try to dig back in the grey cells of my memory for you. Best wishes, Di. an exiled brummie!
 

Pam Smith

master brummie
As a teenager i used to go and help out at Hawthorne House during the school holidays. I just remember feeling very sorry for the children being orphans. I lived in Grestone Avenue and could see the lights on in the house from my bedroom window, i remember always feeling sorry for the children on Christmas Eve. Lying in my bed, thinking how lucky i was to be tucked up in a warm bed with my family down stairs. Misty what sort of information are you looking for?
 

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
I am familiar with Erdington Cottage Homes on Fentham Road, Erdington, just off Gravelly Hill. These days it is called The Gardens and is used by the Birmingham Social Services for many social service offices. Recently there has been a book published about the life and times of the Cottage Homes. The Cottage Homes was just up the road from my last school Fentham Secondary School for Girls. The Cottage Homes information for this place and other Cottage Homes in and around Birmingham are on the Workhouse websites generally.
Have a look here.......www.institutions.org.uk/workhouses/england/warks/aston_cottage_homes.htm
As the No.11 Outer Circle passed by the back part of the Cottage Homes, I must have passed it hundreds of tiumes. When it was built in 1898 it was "state of the art" in Orphanages. It had it's own junior school, chapel and sick bay. There are many photos on the above web site and it hasn't changed very much over the years. It's location is very close to Highcroft Hall, which was a Workhouse and then a Mental Hospital. The Homes had very large park like grounds which were close to the railway.

I made friends over the last five years with a girl who was brought up in Erdington Cottage Homes along with her brother, at least 50 years ago. She attended Fentham Girls School but I didn't know her then. She emigrated to America in the l960's. We came into contact through our Centenary School reunion last year, but just over the internet and our school site on Friends Reunited. She had lost touch with her brother when she went to America and found him just two years ago in Birmingham. She used a private locator service to track him down.
The other Children's Orphanage in Erdington was Sir Josiah Mason's Orphanage built in the mid l800's in Bell Lane, which became and still is Orphanage Road, Erdington. I remember it very well.It was a huge place complete with towers and always seemed a bit frightening overall. Bit about Sir Josiah Mason on this site https://jquarter.members.beeb.net/morejmason.htm. Sir Josiah Mason had connections to Aston with his Pen business on Lancaster Street. One of the largest pen manufacturer's
in the world at that time. He was also involved in the establishment of Elkington & Co.
The old Orphanage buildings were abandoned in the l950's and demolished in 1963.
It was a huge place complete with towers and always seemed a bit frightening overall
 

Alberta

Super Moderator
Staff member
I lived close to Cottage homes Erdington,many of the children went to the National School in Erdington High street.
I went to Sir Josiah Masons school in the grounds of the orphanage,the 'orphans'made up about half of the pupils.the school and the orphanage were still like a Dickens novel even in the late 40s/early50s.
We had the best headmaster ever Mr Shillitoe.The school was demolished and Yenton primary took its place.
 

rowan

Born a Brummie
Hi Alberta, I remember Mr Shillitoe. When did you attend the "day" school? I was one of the "residents"of Sir Josiah Mason's. You are right it was a very Dickension place and although there were many hundreds of children who passed through those frightening doors, it was a very lonely place to be. Many were the tears I cried when I was in my bed :'( But when the reunion comes around,even if I can't attend, I know my "family" of fellow "residents" are there and we can cling together as a family should :)
 

Alberta

Super Moderator
Staff member
Hi Rowan,
I was there between 1949 and 1953,my last 'class teacher' was Miss Skivington,was also taught by Mr Pullen.
 

Pomgolian

Kiwi Brummie Admin' Team
:angel: I had a very good friend who with her brothers and sisters were bought up in the Erdington Cottage homes. later at 15 she was fostered out to a Mrs Tew and family (this family took in lots of girls from the homes).
Her name was Mary Kilroy, she would be about 57 years old now and worked with me at Wimbushs in Small Heath.
We lost touch, but if any of you know of her or her family I would love to renew our friendship.

Chris :angel:
 
O

O.C.

Guest
In 1964, ' the orphanage' a landmark which had been familiar to generations of local people disappeared from the skyline. Although it stood in Erdington it was, because of its height, quite as well known in Sutton. The Josiah Mason Almshouses and Orphanage had been conceived under the constitution of an " Orphanage Trust ". Their building and endowment, at an estimated cost to Mason of £30,000, was said to have been one of the most munificent acts in the annals of charity. Josiah Mason, a poor boy from Kidderminster, whose only formal education had been at a dame school next door to his home, acquired immense wealth in Birmingham from the trades of steel-pen making and electro-plating. In his orphanage he made provision for the education, as well as the feeding, clothing and housing of the children, of whom it was claimed that he knew each one personally.
When, prior to the redevelopment of the site, the 250-ft. tower of the Sir Josiah Mason Orphanage was felled in 1964, demolition workers chipped away half the base of the tower, substituted beams for bricks, then set fire to the beams. The tower estimated weight 2,500 tons collapsed in clouds of smoke and dust. " It fell smack on the target" master-steeplejack, Mr. J. Clover of Sutton Coldfield, who was in charge of the operation.
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Reading The Latest Threads On Childrens Homes ,
One Comes To My Mind
There Was One Called FORHILL House Over At Kings Norton
I Do Believe Its Still There
Can Anybody Fill Me In Has To What It Was YEARS Ago
And When It Was Built And Whom Lived There In Time Gone BYE,
 
Last edited:

The Baron

master brummie
Princess Alice (nch)

This posted pic is a copy of the original front cover from the opening of the PRINCESS ALICE ORPHANAGE July 18th 1883,in the 1950s this would be the NATIONAL CHILDRENS HOMES (N.C.H.) PRINCESS ALICE DRIVE , CHESTER ROAD NORTH, SUTTON COLDFIELD. (NOW THE SITE OF THE TESCO STORE)
Superintendent:Mr A.Meakin.
Accommodation:120 Children aged 3 to 16
The campus contaied 14 self-contained houses of which onewas for adolesents & another short-stay.
Some day care facilities for a limited number of children were provided.Intermediate treatment facilities & a Nursary school for 60 children within the grounds .
 
O

O.C.

Guest
Astonian, Forhill House was a Remand Home in the 1950'-60's I remember delivering their working for R.F Willis Fruit & Veg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
Thanks Cromwell
Do You Know Whether It Was OWNED BY
Anybody Of Important
Or Any Land Owner ? .
Speaking Of Remand Centres ,
I Believe There Was A Big House On The Corner
Bristol Road And Pebble Mill Road
Next To The Old BBC , Years Ago
For Wayward Girls ,
I Don,t SURPOSE It Is Still There Today
IKow That The BBC as Gone Now
I HAVE A Friend Who They Call MR BBC
HE HIS ANN ROBINSON,S FOOR MANAGER
PLUS MANY MORE SHOWS
HE HAS TOLD ME THAT THE OLD PEBBLE MILL SITE
IS GOING TO BE AN INDUSTREAL SITE
AND THE EXIT INTO THIS SITE IS GOING
TO BE COMING IN FROM THE BRISTOL RD
WHERE THE OLD BRISTOL COURT HOTEL WAS
REGARDING THE HOME OR HOUSE
I WAS TOLD THIS BY ANOTHER OLD FRIEND
WHOM WAS A CITY MAGISTRATE ,
AND THE REST OF THERE FAMILY ARE STILL ACTIVE I IN THE B,HAM COURTS TODAY
 
C

Catkin

Guest
i had a friend from Erdington cottage homes, she used to come home with me, i also went to the Abbey could this be you. My friend was able to bend the first joint on her fingers, and her first name was Doreen, i also remember her surname but i want put it down.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

fergie

master brummie
I believe my nan (gran) may have spent some time in or at Erdington Cottage homes, though it would have been very early on, since she married my grandfather in 1918. I remember her telling stories about making dolls out of pegs to give as Christmas presents and looking after her younger sisters and brother.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Sleepybarb

master brummie
Birmingham children's Homes

I don't know anything about the homes in the 1950's,but I worked at Wychbury House Nursery at Hagley Forge in the early 70's.There was a girl who worked there who had been in care at the home at Pebble Mill when it was an ordainary Children's home.Her name was Elizabeth and she had a brother and sister with her.I often wonder what happened to her and to the children from Wychbury.
Sleepybarb
 
C

Catkin

Guest
i was at the Abbey from 1947 until 1958, i started school when i was four, i was taught firstly by the nuns then by Miss Rose, Miss Hazelwood (who also taught my Mother) Mr Higgins, Mr Macarthyand others. i had a sister Kathleen and two brothers older than me. I loved Mr Burns the headmaster and as you know he went by the name of daddy Burns. he was such a well liked person that must have made him feel very proud. brothers David and William.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
C

Catkin

Guest
I can still see it all in my minds eye, VERY HAPPY DAYS FOR ME.
Catkin
 
Last edited by a moderator:

jennyann

master brummie
Staff member
I had the chance to do a sort of "practicum" for a day or two at the Homes in the daycare centre that was run on that site for many years on the Highcroft Road side. A couple of years ago I had the occasion to visit the site of my old High School in Fentham Road and walked up Highcroft Road after passing the Homes which are now used as Administrative offices for Social Services. There are now private homes
on the Day care site I noticed.

In the last year of School in the mid l950's the senior girls went to help in the Daycare on the Homes grounds. They went in pairs through the term and were on a roster. I remember it being a little scary but also good fun with the little ones. The grounds to the Cottage Homes were very nice with lots of greenery.

I was always very curious about the whole place over the years and often looked into the Hospital Bay which was located on the Reservoir Road side where the No.11 bus went by. I walked by many hundreds of times and I don't think over the years I heard anything bad about the Homes. After the war the local people often had barely enough for themselves but I know that
many of them gave items to the Homes for the children.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top