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BOOK - Children's Homes, A History of Institutional Care for Britain’s Young
By Peter Higginbotham
Published by Pen and Sword, Barnsley UK, 2017
What image does the word ‘orphanage’ conjure up in your mind? A sunny scene of carefree children at play in the grounds of a large ivy-clad house? Or a forbidding grey edifice whose cowering inmates were ruled over with a rod of iron by a stern, starched matron?
In Children's Homes, Peter Higginbotham explores the history of the institutions in Britain that were used as a substitute for children’s ‘natural’ homes. From the Tudor times to the present day, this fascinating book answers questions such as:
Illustrated throughout, Children's Homes provides an essential, previously overlooked, account of the history of these British institutions.
- Who founded and ran all these institutions?
- Who paid for them? Where have they all gone?
- What was life like for their inmates?
About the author - Dr Nat Alcock
- 'A comprehensive history of the various British institutions that have provided care for children and young people over past centuries'
- Family Tree magazine, November 2017
- An informative and all-embracing history of children's homes, from the feared to the idyllic, which will be useful as a reference work to social historians and also as a guide to family historians tracing life stories of ancestors who, as children, may have been in residential care as orphans or of destitute parents in the late 19th and 20th Century. - Essex Family Historian No.164
- Peter Higginbotham's book about children in orphanages, reformatories, industrial schools and similar institutions is fascinating. An absolute must for anyone whose relative was brought up in an institution, even if briefly. - Glasgow & West of Scotland FHS
- This is an exhaustive and wide-ranging history from an author well-known for his research and books on workhouses. He explores the history of institutions set up in Britain to provide 'substitute homes' for children who, for whatever reason, were deprived of normal family life. The book explains how and why they were founded, who ran them, how they were funded, what life was like for children living in them, and what eventually happened to them all. - Bristol & Avon Family History Society
- Higginbotham, already well known for his work on Workhouses www.workhouses.org.uk, has provided us with a detailed survey of the provision made for destitute children in the course of the last few centuries. Anyone who has an interest in the history of childhood or of social services will need to consult this book. It should be used in conjunction with Higginbotham’s website, ‘Childrens Homes’ www.childrenshomes.org.uk. This provides brief details of the thousands of institutions that have provided homes for Britain’s destitute, orphaned, crippled, and criminal children over the centuries. -
Federation of Family History Societies
- This fascinating book surveys the range of institutions that supported these unfortunate children, looking back as far as Tudor times and working forward to the current day. It investigates who founded and ran these institutions, who paid for them and gives an insight into what life was like in them. The book is beautifully illustrated with a large number of monochrome prints and photographs and, usefully for family historians, provides information about where to find surviving records. A valuable addition to the family history research bookshelf and one that I am sure readers will go back to. - Liverpool Family Historian
- One comes to the end of Peter Higginbotham’s magnificent history of the institutional care of children in Britain with a single sad reflection: “That it should come to this!” Church Times
- Alongside homes for children in England (i.e. ones that teach an occupation, delinquent reform, foster children, immigrant children, children of families affected poverty, undergoing disabilities), there are homes and civic services performed for 'fallen women' (or Magdalen homes) and children who are sent to Canada. It was very interesting to learn about an individual schools (or series of schools in a multitude of locations) and their uniforms, credo, being based around a village or farm, their meals and daily schedules, evidence of abuse, punitive discipline, training ships for children who wanted to join the Marine Society and Royal Navy, homes that were part of WWII evacuation, and their noted financial endowments. - GoodReads, Kristine Fisher
- From Tudor times onwards, this fascinating book answers questions such as: Who founded and ran all these institutions? Who paid for them? Where have they all gone? And what was life like for the children who lived in them? Illustrated with more than 100 archive photographs, Children's Homes unearths a largely overlooked aspect of social history, offering a compelling account of the institutions which were set up to provide a substitute for children's 'natural homes'. - Telegraph & Argus (Bradford), 20th January 2018 by Emma Clayton
- A detailed analysis of the many institutions which have cared for our young from Tudor times onwards. - Evergreen, Winter 2017
- Children's Homes cannot be faulted on its extensive information on all manner of children's homes, but this is not to the detriment of the narrative, which ensures keeping the reader's interest throughout. - Suffolk FHS
- Peter Higginbotham is known for his expertise on workhouses, so it is no surprise he has written about institutions for children in care. It is a well-researched overview of children's homes, starting with Christ's Hospital, given by Henry VIII to the City of London for relief of the poor. Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, November 2017 - reviewed by Janet Sacks 'Meet the author' feature & review
- Peter Higginbotham's expertise is something to marvel at. Since 2000 he has painstakingly built up a website which is quite simply the definitive guide to the workhouse system, aided by his numerous books on the subject. As if this weren't quite enough, since 2012 he has applied his same meticulous approach to the subject of children's homes and orphanages. This is his first major book on the subject, and any family historian with forebears who spent their childhood in an institution of this kind will benefit from a copy. Read it for: An expert, authoritative guide to the history of children's homes in Britain - Your Family History, November 2017
Peter Higginbotham is an established author, best known for his work on the workhouse through six books (The Workhouse Encyclopedia, Grim Almanac of the Workhouse, Workhouse Cookbook etc.), his magazine articles, and participation in TV programmes such as Who Do Think You Are? and Heir Hunters.
Softcover - perfectbound
6.25 X 9.25
Photos / illustrations
Published by Pen and Sword, Barnsley, 2017
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