Former Children's Homes


A warm welcome to the Former Children's Homes website. Having started in 2011, this is the first dedicated encyclopaedia of life in former children's homes and orphanages. Over the years, thousands and thousands of children spent time in these homes and yet we know very little about what life was like in them.





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Over the years, thousands and thousands of children spent time in these homes and yet we know very little about what life was like for them.


NEW! Residential childcare at the end of the nineteenth century - a growing list of homes, orphanages, industrial schools and reformatories.


What can we learn about a childhood 

from a single postcard?
Follow our journey of discovery


The idea of this site is to share our memories and our family history research to build up a picture of what life was really like for people in children's homes so you are very welcome to contribute any information and photographs to the site and, of course, please feel free to tell us when we have got something wrong. This is a complicated topic and we may very well make mistakes.




There is important news about access to records for care leavers and their direct descendants see our page on this.




The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) - what progress has there been? Can you input your experiences? The latest on the Inquiry can be found here.


Gudrun Limbrick

February 2017







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We get NO external funding at all and rely on donations to function. 




We are delighted and very proud that this site was last year featured in Family Tree Magazine. The article explained the difference between different types of homes built for children in the Victorian era - orphanages, cottage homes, open air schools, reformatories and so on.







And now also available for Kindle!



The tragic history of 
jelly babies 



The BBC recently examined the history of the humble jelly bean and discovered that they were created by Fryers of Lancashire in 1864. They weren't known as jelly babies then but as 'Unclaimed Babies' after the orphaned and abandoned infants which were all too common at the time. The tragedy behind the name seemingly didn't do anything to harm their popularity.










Take a look at how much truth there might be in the fiction.





Want to know how to access children's home records?


See our guide




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