Princess Mary’s Village Homes for Little Girls


Unlike most cottage homes for children, these were not founded by the poor law union but instead by two philanthropists - Susanna Meredith and Caroline Cavendish.


Initially concerned with the welfare of female prisoners, they then decided to offer care for the children of prisoners and established cottage homes - a small village of cottages each looked after by a house mother - in 1872 for children "who have parents convicted of crime or who have no home, or are exposed to demoralising influences".


The homes, established in Addlestone, Surrey, were initially registered as an industrial school. In 1933, the homes became an approved school. The homes were closed in 1980.


There were initially six cottages.To these were added a shcoolhouse, the Shaftesbury Wing, the infants' schoolroom and staff accommodation (later extended as a training home for older girls before being sent out, usually to service), an infirmary, a laundry to provide employment for older girls and a source of income for the Homes, a chapel. a sewing room and a holiday home for girls who wanted to return after they had left.


This information has been taken from a very comprehesive description of the homes to be found at




We are grateful to the Surrey History Centre for the following information:


We are in the process of indexing the records for Princess Mary Village Homes; at present you can search an index which covers a case book dating 1870-1890, but we are hoping to extend this very shortly to cover other admission registers (see 


Also, have a look at our page on Accessing records for general information about cottage homes records.