Memories of Convalescent Homes 
These are memories that people have sent in.

Sharing memories helps us make sense of the past.

 Benenden Convalescent Home 


I read a news item this morning about Benenden and the name was a blast from the past. Not absolutely sure about my dates, but when I was seven (1955) and lived in the East End of London, I had mumps and yellow jaundice at the same time. I'm pretty sure I was sent to Benenden to recover. Just before I was due to leave spots started to appear on my body. I had measles! And had to stay for another two weeks. My mum came to collect me and when we got on a bus from Liverpool Street station, I threw up (I'm still a lousy traveller).



  Conisborough Convalescent Home for Sheffield Children  
Standing close under Castle Conisborough, which looks frowningly down upon the modern industrialism of the district, is the Godfrey Walker Convalescent Home. It is useful and valuable institution, and should possess special interest for the toiling thousands in Sheffield, for it is within its comfortable walls that many of Sheffield’s sick children are brought back to health and strength and the full enjoyment of childhood’s days. ...The convalescent home is situated on a hill, midway between the hoary old castle and the ancient church ...Miss Hall, whose constant care it is to tend to the young people, regards it as a health-giving situation, and experience has proved she right. Its inmates come for a month, and often remain for six and nine months, until they are thoroughly restored to health. The home is run directly in connection with the Royal Infirmary Sheffield. Mr. Godfrey Walker was for many years one of the principal residents of Conisborough, and directly interested in its commercial and material welfare, and the gift of the building from his wife was in memory of this estimable gentleman. The Priory is a commodious dwelling, situated in three and half acres of neatly laid out gardens. Included the gift were five cottages, which are a source of income, and help to defray the current expenses. Mrs. Walker also contributed one thousand pounds, to cover necessary structural alterations, and added a handsome endowment of £lOO a year. The first patient was admitted on June 1. 1911, and the official opening was on July 8. Twenty beds are set apart for patients ranging from three to twelve years of age, and it is seldom that any of those beds are unoccupied. Although some of the occupants leave every week, there are others waiting to take their places, and already 225 patients have passed through the Home. They come from all parts of Sheffield and the exhilarating air from the heights of Conisborough speedily brings colour to the cheeks and brightness to the eyes of the little patients. There are sorrowful exceptions, of course, but in the main, the change from the dingy surround ings of their own homes to the pleasant abode on the hill, with its airy rooms, careful solicitude of the nurses, good and regular food, works a wonderful cure, and produces another and a different child in outward appearance. There are numerous ways which the well-to-do can help. Gifts of toys and useful articles are acceptable all times. But financial aid also needed. Sheffielders are not likely to allow such a splendid work to suffer for lack of funds. The institution is open at all times to visitors. 
Sheffield Daily Telegraph 31st January 1913



I'm looking to find out more information about the children's home that my grandmother attended.  The name that I have is Hanchurch Convalescent home for children.  My grandmother lived in Stoke-on-Trent so this home was likely not too far as her mother was able to visit each week. My grandmother was 7 and 9 when she attended so the years would be 1922 and 1924.  





I am wondering if this might have been related to Hanchurch Holiday Home or Hanchurch Home (or if those two were one and the same?):


Hanchurch Holiday Home, Newcastle, Stoke-on-Trent

This was built in around 1897/1898


The home was run by a matron who oversaw boys and girls who slept in dormitories on either side of her room. There was also a day room for the children, kitchen, bathroom, a surgery and a servant's room.


Amanda supplied this screenshot about the home, unfortunately, we are not sure where it is from:



Hanchurch Home, Trentham

Open in the 1960s


Two quotes from external websites:


"There was Hanchurch Homes, it was a council run children's home and was near trentham, it was spread over quite a large wooded area a couple of the staff were called staff nurse XXXXX, and nurse XXXX."


"I was at hanchurch in 1969 with my 2 brothers I was a brill place playground at the back school at the side Mr maskery and Mr Massey run it another member of staff was miss norcop and miss fisher The cook lived just up the lane by the post office every Saturday we would have a picture show and every one wanted to be charley the light switch operator we had bacon sarnies every Sunday served in a big tray and dunked our bread there were 4 dorms end / middle and sunshine and upstairs / dinning room was up a few steps".

 Heathercombe Brake 



I went to a home on Dartmoor several times in the 50s and early 60s  called Heathercombe Brake, as did a lot of Dagenham children , it was really lovely. I also travelled with a member from Devon home, with a little label on my coat. The home is no longer there it is a car park now.


 Laleham Convalescent Home 


There was another children's convalescent home in the 60's in Cliftonville called Laleham, on the edge of Northdown Park. I was sent there for 6 months in the winter of 1964 at the age of 8 to heal my lungs from having constant bronchial asthma ( having been born and brought up next to the Stone Dartford cement pits and with coal fires everywhere)but most of the children there were recovering from TB. It certainly healed my lungs well and I went from hardly going to school from November to January to never having a problem again, apart from getting chesty colds. They concentrated on 4 meals a day, lots of fresh air, rest and exercise and I remember particularly Mrs Jones one of the "carers" who always fascinated me because she knitted constantly (as I do now) and was always ready with a cuddle - you can imagine at the age of 8 it was traumatic being away from home so I was always ready too! The cook there was always waiting at breaktime with glasses of milk and biscuits for us. We had school in the mornings and then walks and rest after lunch and there was so much food - a great help with TB in those days. My father had it 4 times in his life and was convalesced once in the adult home next to Laleham, can't remember what it was called - he was there the same time as I was at Laleham - my poor Mum!




I was in the Leylam Convalescent Home Cliftonville Margate 1957 – 1959



 Littlehampton Convalescent Home 


I was sent to a Children's convalescent home in Little Hampton I had been a patient at the Princess Louise in London I was there 6 weeks. I remember Nurse Woods she was good so was the nurse who traveled with us on the train and also Nurse Salad not her real name but none of us liked salad and she was not helpful I remember walks on the green by the sea, singing games before tea, a cake on my birthday, being homesick,being out of my depth at times being sick but too scared to tell anyone in case I was sent up to bed on my own. A mixed experience one that was good for my health but not without problems



 Lynton Children's Convalescent Home 



I know that my father in law was sent to Lynton Childrens convalescent home in Devon when he was about 3 years of age due to having rickets which was about 1918.. He was sent there from Islington workhouse we believe




I was sent to the Lynton convalescent home by Newport authorities in1944 for about 8 months. It was run by nuns and nurses quite strictly with lessons and walks and a religious overtone.







Having been a working girls hostel, Oaklands became a convalescent home in 1924. From 1921, Oaklands was originally used as a working girls’ hostel. It changed function in 1924, becoming a convalescent home. It then changed again, to become a residential nursery, in 1940.  


 Rusland Hall 


I was in Rusland Hall in the mid sixties, I was around 8 years old. My mother told me I was going to a convalescent home. My mother passed away in June this year. only now at the age of 56 have I found out my two sister were also sent to a home but they cannot remember which one. .My time there was not happy, I remember an elderly couple and a very strict matron like figure, I was bullied by older children and blamed for their bad behaviour, the only positive was that I was clothed and fed. feel free to contact me for more details.




  St Peters 



I also went to a convalescent home in Broadstairs,I think it was St Peters,on South Road ? it was on the cliff top and it had some steps from the garden down to the beach. It was run by nuns and I liked it there very much,first time I saw the sea ! Last time I went to Broadstairs it was then a council office.

I also attended a convalscent home in Skegness twice, second time I was there I went home with my head full of nits! My mother wasn't pleased !



St  Helens 


St Helen's Toddlers Convalescent Home (became St Helen's Children's Home). Independent but associated with West Ham. Closed 1967


I stayed for 6 weeks in a home in letchworth In late 50s. Do remember 2 staff there Stella and Valerie. Valerie met me an a couple of others at a main London station. 

I was referred there probably as I had a very bad cough may have been whooping cough. I stayed there for the whole of the six weeks holiday. Some memories I have is of there being a large mixed dormitory and a smaller one which I was in. I remember when in bed we were given a piece or maybe half if apple while in bed!! I remember once nearly choking as laying down eating an apple is not a good thing to do.


There was a garden but can’t remember how big it was. We were allowed to watch tv late afternoon but if we had been naughty (by talking too much etc while tv was on) we were sent out of the room to a room where we were alone.


I remember children being nice who were there but staff were too strict and not friendly at all.


That’s the limit of my memories there.




 Warburton House 


Remember my brother and myself being in a convalescent home in Kent (Clintonville I think) in the 1950s and if I remember right it was called Warburton House. It was opposite what was then a Butlin’s hotel as I have a recollection of a big fire in the hotel one night. Just wondered if you have any info. On this place at all. We were there for quite some time, living in North London at the time and my brother got pneumonia and that is why he was sent there. I remember my mother saying that I fretted for him and that is why I was sent there !!


 Webbery Manor 


When I was 11 years old in 1961 I was sent to a convalescent home in Bideford. I could not remember the name of the home but  some  research leads me to believe it was called Webbery. It was a catholic home although lots of the children like myself were not Catholic.  Some of the children lived there full-time  I think all the residents were girls but not sure. It was owned by a Mr/s Leach who lived  down a country lane not far away in a white  house with green shutters. It was run by a lady who had a pug dog called Brindle. All the staff there we called nurses they were all unmarried mothers and all named Mary. I remember going for walks to places called big hill and little hill and a sweet shop in a tiny village or hamlet.






Not much in the way of info, but I was at the Webbery Home for Children (as I have always known it, and assume it is the Webbery Manor Convalescent Home of which you speak) during the summer hols of 1963 when I was just six years old. 


I was there while my mother gave birth to my younger brother who was born in August 1963, which is why I can be fairly specific about the date.

Looking at the Webbery Manor Estate on Google Earth, I see woods to the back and front… these were known to staff and children as Big Woods and Little Woods.

Staff I remember were Miss (or perhaps Mrs.) Fly-swatter, because she carried a fly-swatter to punish errant children! There was a Miss Cornfield, but unfortunately, that is the extent of my recollections of staff.

I also recall a ditch, nettle filled with a field of sheep opposite, and a girl falling in; it seemed really deep then, but I guess it was probably only about 3, maybe four feet or so.

Hair combed with vinegar to stop nits and salt on the tip of the tongue to prevent bed-wetting!

I remember fire-escape practice, which of course, at the time we thought was a great game; it consisted of a belt that went under the arms and being lowered from a window on a winch.

The only other child I remember was a boy called, I think, Hayden or Haden. He’d had some sort of operation on his head and the wound kept opening.




Paul was also able to supply this image from the London Gazette 4th March 1966 which shows the closure of the home:

 West Kirby Convalescent Home 


I was, along with my younger sister and two brothers, at West Kirby Convalescent Home, in West Kirby, Wirral for two months in 1958 when I was 8 years old. It was quite a big place and had a boys’ side and a girls’ side.  My brothers who were only about 4 and 3, were kept separate from me and I was only allowed to see them for about 15 minutes every 2 weeks.  Life there was so awful.  Staff were cruel and at one point I tried to escape to get back to my mum and get the others out.  But I was caught.  I was not allowed to eat meals for the next day. Parents could only visit once every 2 weeks I think.  But my mum did not drive and could not come much.  She also had just had her seventh baby and was just recovering for a burst appendix. A horrible time in my life.



 Woodhouse Eaves 



I am one of 5 brothers born in America during the forties and shipped to England in the early fifties. Next thing I knew I was being transported to a convalescent home, the Woodhouseves  near Swithland woods, and blue bell wood.

I stayed there for several weeks during that summer, and then was  bought home again, it was very shortly after this that we were taken away from home to go to the Beeches.



Do you have memories
of being in
a convalescent home?


Please add your memories to this site - sharing our memories helps us all to understand more about our childhoods



We would love to hear from you.