Hull's Children's Homes

Does the History Centre hold any records relating to Children's Homes?

A number of children's homes existed in Hull throughout the last two centuries. The records relating to several of the homes have, in some instances, been lost or scattered amongst several different agencies, including Hull History Centre.

Records held at Hull History Centre

The Sailors' Families Society (C DSSF)

The Port of Hull Society for the Religious Instruction of Sailors, as it was originally known, was founded in 1821. They established their first residential home on Castle Row in 1863. A new home was opened on Park Street in 1867.

Eventually the Society purchased some land on Cottingham Road to create a 'Cottage Home Colony' known as Newland Homes which opened in 1895. This should not be confused with Hessle Cottage Homes, the orphanage of the Sculcoates Poor Law Union and workhouse (see below).

The Society has undergone several name changes over the last two centuries which reflect their varied work with both children and adults who have connections to the sea. It is worth noting that children admitted to the homes came from ports all over the North East Coast, not just from Hull.

The records of the Society, including entry and exit documentation relating to the many thousands of children who passed through the homes, are held at Hull History Centre. Records relating to individuals are subject to closure under data protection legislation, although access may be granted in certain circumstances. See our guidance on Accessing sensitive information.

Please note that the Sailors' Families' Society will only grant access to third parties if you can prove you were the individual's next of kin.

Copies of their own publication, 'Ashore and Afloat' are available to consult at L.362.73, in the archives searchroom. These can be a useful place to start any research as they contain application lists for the homes and are not covered by data protection legislation.

The Sailors' Families' Society still exists. Their work is now confined to supporting families of seafarers within their own homes throughout the United Kingdom.

Seamen's and General Orphanage (C DSHO)

The Hull Seamen's and General Orphanage opened on Spring Bank in 1866. The orphanage moved to Hesslewood Hall in 1921, on land granted by the Wilson family (of the Ellerman-Wilson Line), and finally closed in 1985. The Sailor's Orphan Society originally ran the homes, which was founded in 1853.

Their records, including entry and exit documentation relating to the children who passed through the homes, are held at Hull History Centre (C DSHO). Records relating to individuals are subject to closure under data protection legislation, although access may be granted in certain circumstances. Copies of the minutes of the orphanage can be requested to view at reference L.362.73, in the archives searchroom.

Hope House

Initially based on Wincolmlee in Hull, and officially called the Hull Female Penitentiary, this was a rescue home for fallen girls. It opened in 1811 and had closed on this site by 1825. However, the home was revived in 1837 on Anlaby Road and between then and 1878 was home to 860 women.

During this period it was known as the Hull, East Riding and North Lincolnshire Female Penitentiary. It eventually closed in 1937 due to lack of funds. The only records known to exist for Hope House are a set of rules and a plan dated 1811 and some annual reports for 1924, 1925 and 1927 (all at ref. L.364).

Does the History Centre hold records relating to Industrial and Reform Schools?

In 1849 the Hull Ragged and Industrial School was founded, initially establishing a school for boys and girls in the town. In 1868 it set up the industrial school ship Southampton for the boys. It lay in the Hull Roads until 1912, and provided training for a life at sea. Many came from outside Hull. In 1857 the school moved to Marlborough Terrace, before eventually moving to Park Avenue. Only a few records survive of boys taken on board the ship.

At L.379.153 are the minutes of the Hull School Board (1870-1903), and within the Finance and Property, and Bye-Laws Committee minutes are a record of boys transferred to the Southampton.

For the period 1869-1870 there are some accounts relating to Hull pupils at various reformatories around the country including the Southampton. These can be found at reference C TCRF/27.

Records for Park Avenue Industrial School, between the dates 1885-1931, can be located at C TED/2/82-85 and C TED/2/183.

For background material related to the Southampton there are secondary sources such as Ian Cowen's Industrial Schools and Training Ships with a special reference to the Southampton, an article in Nautical Magazine Vol 226 No 5, both at L.371 whilst at reference C SRL/R/59, there is The Humber Training Ship 'Southampton' for Homeless and Destitute Boys, newspaper extracts collected by Andre Brannon whilst researching at the Local History Unit, Hull College. A postcard of the Training Ship Southampton in the River Humber dated 1902 can be located at reference L RH/1/059.

Records held elsewhere which cannot be accessed at the Hull History Centre

St Vincent's Orphan Home for Boys

This home was founded in July 1890 for boys belonging to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough. It began in Wright Street and moved to Queens Road around 1910. Although financially and formally administered by the Diocese of Middlesbrough, it was run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and closed around 1995.

A similar home for female 'waifs and strays' existed at Middlesbrough. Records for St. Vincent's Orphan Boys Home are located at the Middlesborough Diocesan Archives. Those relating to individuals will be subject to closure under data protection legislation, although access may be granted in certain circumstances. The Hull History Centre holds a copy of the book, St Vincent's Home for Boys by Ernest Cleveland, at L.362.73 which can be accessed in the archives searchroom.

Pickering Home for Girls

Originally known as the Clarendon House Home for Girls, it was taken over by 'The Church of England Society' in 1892. The Home was situated on Spring Bank until 1915 and was officially known as 'The Church of England Home for Waifs and Strays'. It moved to Hessle Road in 1915 and became known as 'The Pickering Home for Girls'. Boys were admitted after 1950. The home closed in the 1980s. The Society, now known as The Children's Society, operates a research service. Information and some early digitised records can also be found on the Hidden Lives Revealed website.

Linnaeus Street Children's Home

This was the children's home for the Hull Poor Law Union from about 1910. In 1935 it became known as the Hull Corporation's Scattered Homes. Six houses provided accommodation for up to 10 children each. The Hull Welfare Services Committee oversaw the running of this home after the Second World War. Records covering the early years of this home do not seem to have survived, whilst later ones may be available through the Hull City Council Adoption Service, Third Floor, Kingston House, Hull, HU1 3ER or Tel. 01482 300300.

National Children's Homes

This organisation never ran a home in Hull. Children from the city may have been placed with the National Children's Home in Barton on Humber, Bramhope or Whitby. The National Children's Home (now known as Action for Children) has an access to records service.

The Hull and District Branch of Dr Barnardo's Home

This was also known as the 'Hull Every Open Door Home'. It opened in 1902, eventually moving to Beverley Road. The home closed in 1951. Records are still held by Barnado's and they run a family history service.

Hull Sheltering Home for Girls

Founded in 1888, this home finally closed in 1959. It was a rescue home for fallen girls. In the 1920s it was part of the York Association for Preventative and Rescue Work (see above). Unfortunately no records exist for this home.

In 1961 a local social worker and Justice of the Peace, Dora Jessop, launched an appeal to found a new shelter for women. Opening in 1965, The Dora Jessop House, now situated at no. 6, Beech Grove, Beverley Road, still exists to provide shelter for homeless women. Administrative records for this latter home exist at the Borthwick Institute (ref. DJH).

Cottage Homes, Hessle

These were run as the children's home of the Sculcoates Poor Law Union, and opened in 1897. They received 'all children between the ages of 3 and 16 to whom the guardians grant Institutional Relief.' Unfortunately records of residents have not survived. However, within the History Centre there is a copy of Tyson's collection of letters relating to incidents at the homes, entitled Hessle Cottage Homes, at L.362.73 which can be accessed in the searchroom.