Who do you think you are:
Aberlour Orphanage


The BBC family history programme, Who do you think you are?' recently looked at the actor, Anna Maxwell Martin's family history.


In the programme, she discovered that her grandfather, Maxwell Youngson was sent to an orphanage in 1920 along with four of his sisters.




The programme finds that Maxwell's mother died when she was 46 possibly as a result of health issues from the fourteen pregnancies she had had. Soon after, it was recommended that the five children could not be cared for properly by their father and should go into Aberlour Orphanage.


Maxwell Youngson was five years old at this point.


Aberlour Orphanage was opened in Moray, Scotland, in 1875 and ran until 1967 when it was thought that smaller family homes would be more suited to meet the needs of children in care.







Aberlour followed the pattern of cottage homes in England and Wales. The idea of the cottage homes was to provide accommodation for large numbers of children, 300 to 500, in a rural area away from the pollution and overcrowding of the towns and cities. The homes provided everything that children needed -  a school, infirmary, chapel, sports ground and so on - so that they would never have cause to leave and visit the outside world.


Aberlour had accommodation for around 400 children, boys and girls were accommodated separately, and had a large church (which still stands), a laundry, school, workshops as well as accommodation for the staff who also lived there.


Visits from family were not welcome as it was thought that family and people from the child's own community would be a bad influence on the child.


The WDYTYA programme found that Anna's Maxwell's grandfather stayed in the orphanage until he was eleven years old. She was impressed that while her grandfather had such an isolated childhood without the love of his own family, himself became a loving dad who provided a completely solid and loving, nurturing home for his own family.


To watch this episode of Who Do You Think You Are, visit www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer where it can be watched free of charge





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