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The entrance gates to the cottage homes in approximately 1900-1905. The wording on the gates is 'Greenwich & Deptford Children's Homes'


Lamorbey Cottage (Children's) Homes (aka The Hollies Children's Home)


As the postcard above depicts, the cottage homes built by Greenwich and Deptford Union, although built as cottage homes, were known from the outset as 'children's homes' and not 'cottage homes'. This appears to have been unusual amongst cottage homes, at least in years preceding the Second Word War.


The cottage homes were opened in 1902 on Burnt Oak Lane, in Sidcup, Kent, an area which was known as Lamorbey. There were 25 large houses for children - 20 for girls and 5 larger homes for boys with a school, gym and a swimming pool for children as well as a water tower.




The postcard at the top of this page, has a postmark dated February 1907 and carries the message shown on the left.


"I shall be pleased to see you on Wednesday afternoon. I should like you to fit the skirts on too if you could. I have fresh children in so am very busy.


Yours truly,


E Worsfold"


It was posted to a woman in Deptford, presumably a seamstress. E Worsfold was perhaps a foster mother of one of the houses or perhaps the superintendent of the children's homes.





Wendy has sent us her memories of her mother's time in Lamorbey. Thank you Wendy!


"I have just read your book “Inside the gates of Children’s Cottage Homes” and found it very interesting. I thought that you might like the following information.


"My mother – Mary Ann (b Deptord 1913) was in the Lamorbey Home (The Hollies) from 1919 to 1930 when she went into service with the Martineau family (sugar refiners). Later she became a nurse. 


"My mother's father was killed in WW1 and her mother was ill and couldn’t care for my mother and her sister who was five years older so they had to go into Lamorbey.


"I think the regime was strict but not cruel. In fact, her House mother married one of the House fathers - they had both been widowed), and my mother shared a home with them, whilst nursing, until she married my father. It is their address is on her marriage certificate.

"The photo was taken about 1920 outside Acacia cottage I think. My mother is in the front on the right and her sister is behind her. The house mother was Kate Farrell and she married Paul Hows in 1922.  Although I don’t remember them, they were always spoken about as Nanna and Poppa Hows."


The Hollies was the name of one of the main buildings of the children's homes and already existed before the site was bought by the Poor Law Union and the rest of the houses were built. All the houses were named after trees such as Larch, Poplar, Pine, Palm and Rowan. They were arranged around a green and had the relevant tree planted in front of each house.


The children's homes became known as the Hollies children's home in the 1950s. The Hollies building was demolished in 1990s. The other houses of the cottage homes closed as children's homes in the 1980s but the buildings are still standing.


Some great memories and photographs of the children's homes can be found at 

A history, from which many of the above details have been taken can be found at



The records of the Hollies are held at the London Metropolitan Archives.


Please also see our section on accessing records.