St Vincent de Paul


St Vincent was a seventeenth century Catholic priest who devoted himself to working with the poor. Born in France, as a young man he was captured by pirates and lived as a slave for two years before continuing his religious works in France.


St Vincent de Paul founded the Daughters of Charity, Ladies of Charity and the Sisters of Charity who all worked to help the plight of people living in poverty.


In 1833, the Society of St Vincent de Paul was founded initially to work with the people living in the Parisian slums. It took St Vincent’s name being the patron saint of works of charity.


The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul established (largely in the nineteenth century) many orphanages, industrial homes, homes for working girls. According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia (1913) , “by 1907 ... they operated 23 orphanages; seven industrial schools; 24 public elementary schools; one normal school to train teachers; three homes for working girls or women ex-convicts; and eight hospitals, as well as 35 soup-kitchens” in the British Isles.


The nuns who worked in the orphanages and homes in the late nineteenth and very early twentieth century were recognisable by their unusually broad headwear.

The website of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul in the UK can be found here.

To contact them to enquire about records, their email address is:





St Vincent's Orphanage, Torquay (below). Est. 1889:

Ian Cassidy, who was evacuated from Mill Hill to St Vincent's in Torquay from 1939 to 1952 would like to get in touch with anyone who was there at this time. Please email in the first instance and we will forward your emails on to him. We have been sent this memory of St Vincent's in Torquay:


"I was a boy amongst many between 1946 and 1958 , in my experience it was not very pleasant although I noticed boys tended to group together in friendship which helped to the loneliness felt by individuals of there predicament being placed in that place through no fault of their own and circumstances. 


Believe me you felt lonely despite being among many boys and I never saw a nun hug or pick a child up which was probably what we needed at such a young age. I have been told and don't know if its true but a nun was heard to say, that we may have to look after them but we don't have to love them.

When my turn came to leave you were sent off with a little bag of clothes, found a job and then you were on your own in a big world and no one to advise or help you, I have heard some boys fell into bad company and some commited suicide .
Quite frankly I disliked the place and that's putting it mildly."

St Vincent's Orphanage, Mill Hill, London


St Vincent De Paul's Convent and Orphanage, 9 Lower Seymour Street, Portman Square, Marylebone


St Vincent de Paul Orphanage, Carlisle Place, Westminster


St Vincent's Orphanage, 45-61 Beacon Lane, Liverpool (previously known as the Liverpool Industrial School for Roman Catholic Boys)


St Vincent de Paul Home for Boys (RC), 105 Shaw Street, Liverpool. More here


St Vincent's Orphanage / Boys' Home, Garstang Road, Fulwood. Est. 1893. (A memoir of this orphanage can be found here - external website)


St Vincent de Paul Orphanage, Elizabeth House, Lower Bullingham, Hereford



St Vincent's Industrial School for Roman Catholic Boys, Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne


St. Vincent's Home for Roman Catholic Crippled Boys, Pinner, Middlesex


St Vincent's Special School for Roman Catholic Crippled Boys, Clapham, London




St Vincent's Working Boys' Home, Stephenson Terrace, Deepdale Road, Preston




Teresa has emailed to say she was at "St Catherine's convent for girls in Druids Cross Rd, Woolton Liverpool 18. It was run by st Vincent de paul". Anyone else got any memories of St Catherine's?


We have been contacted by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul who would like to stress that not all homes which carry the title St Vincent's were managed or staffed by the Daughters of Charity.

Specifically, they would like to make it clear that the following were not run/staffed by the Daughters of Charity and so they are not able to help with information requests in relation to them:

  • St Vincent’s Orphanage, Holly Place, Hampstead
  • St Vincent’s Home for Destitute Boys, Paddington, London
  • St Vincent’s Boys’ Home, Birmingham
  • St Vincent’s Junior Industrial School for Roman Catholic Boys, Whitstable, Kent
  • St Vincent’s Industrial School for Roman Catholic Boys, Dartford Kent
  • St Vincent’s Auxiliary Boys Industrial School, Leeds
  • St Vincent’s Working Boy’s Home, Moseley Road, Birmingham.



Can you tell us what it was like to be in a St Vincent's home?


Please email if you can help. Thank you.