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  1. #1

    Exclamation St Monica's Industrial School, Croydon

    The full title of the above school is "St Monica's Home Industrial School for Girls, 28 & 29 The Waldrons, Croydon" but there are not enough characters in the header to let me quote it in full.

    I am assisting an elderly family friend to trace her 5 siblings all of whom were adopted, some within the family and others outside. She has given me a copy of her birth certificate. She was born in 1942 at 29 The Waldrons, Croydon. This was the address of the above-named school, but the friend does not appear to be aware that it was anything other than a family home. From the information she gave me her mother was "sent away" as she was unmarried at the time of her pregnancy. Actually, the mother never married although she had 6 children.

    My research tells me that the school was opened in 1913 and became an approved school in 1933 which would tie in with the "sent away" bit. However, my further research confirms that at the time of the friend's birth her mother was 32 years old having been born in 1910 and the friend was the 3rd child.

    This begs the question of why a 32 year old unmarried woman would be in a "school" of any description in 1942 unless she worked there which I think unlikely -- staff member, unmarried, pregnant would give a bad example to pupils.

    Has anyone come across this school or knows what it might have been in 1942? Numbers 28 & 29 The Waldrons appear to have been demolished before "The Waldrons" became a conservation area in 1973. I have been in touch with Croydon archives for information from the Electoral Registers but their time-frame for responses of "20 working days" is testing my patience somewhat.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    One snippet from "The Court Circular" in The Times 13 July 1941.

    "Mrs Temple will preside at a garden meeting (in aid of the war work of the Church Army) to be held at 28, The Waldrons, Croydon, on Wednesday at 3".

    As this is in the Court Circular & the event is for the Church Army, I suspect Mrs Temple is the wife of William Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury (who of course only lived just down the road at Addington Palace!). This, and the mention of the Church Army, possibly makes this place something to do with the Church of England which may help in finding out more about it.

  3. #3
    Jan1954
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcolm99 View Post
    This, and the mention of the Church Army, possibly makes this place something to do with the Church of England which may help in finding out more about it.
    Try contacting the Church Army direct to see if they are able to help: https://www.
    churcharmy.org.uk/pub/nc/ContactUs.aspx

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    As it became an "Approved School" under the 1933 act, it was designed for children who had been criminally abused. I wonder of your friend's mother was already living there with another child who had been criminally abused and subsequently had another baby while she was there.

    Perhaps the place was looked on as a 'place of safety' for children and their mothers - this would contribute to the feeling that it was a 'family home'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by malcolm99 View Post
    As it became an "Approved School" under the 1933 act, it was designed for children who had been criminally abused. I wonder of your friend's mother was already living there with another child who had been criminally abused and subsequently had another baby while she was there.

    Perhaps the place was looked on as a 'place of safety' for children and their mothers - this would contribute to the feeling that it was a 'family home'.
    On second & third thoughts I don't think this is right -so please ignore!

  6. #6

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    Thanks Malcolm99 and Jan1954 for your useful and swift responses. I will contact the church army to see if they have any further information.

    As for the meaning of "Approved School" I had always thought that such places were for wayward children under the age of criminal responsibility and so couldn't be sent to prison or other juvenile institutions. Just shows I've never had any contact with such places

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    My faithful 1937 Ward's Croydon Directory just gives '28 and 29 St Monica's Home' - so not much help, I'm afraid.
    Sadly, our dear friend Dorothy (alias Thomasin) passed away on Sunday, 17th. February, 2013.
    Footprints on the sands of time

  8. #8
    Mutley
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    There is a mention of St. Monica's Home in Google Books. (Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England) Page 137.
    Specialist Homes for fallen Girls. St. Monica's in Croydon for girls aged 10-12.

    There is also a mention on the Church Army site. I'll leave you to consider this one, it makes sad reading.
    https://www.
    churcharmy.org.uk/pub/nc/News/2000-02/ChurchArmyCelebratesaDoubleCentenary_.aspx

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutley View Post
    There is a mention of St. Monica's Home in Google Books. (Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England) Page 137.
    Specialist Homes for fallen Girls. St. Monica's in Croydon for girls aged 10-12.

    There is also a mention on the Church Army site. I'll leave you to consider this one, it makes sad reading.
    https://www.
    churcharmy.org.uk/pub/nc/News/2000-02/ChurchArmyCelebratesaDoubleCentenary_.aspx
    Thanks for that. I had found the reference to St Monica's in Google Books during my research. The other article does, indeed, make sad reading.

    Why an unmarried mother aged 32 would have given birth in St Monica's in 1942 still eludes me. I shall keep digging.

  10. #10

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    Hopefully I've not missed out on this thread. I'm also helping a friend, who was born at St Monicas, The Waldrons, Croydon in 1944 to an unmarried mother. Her BC shows the mothers name, but I really to know her age. we're you successful in getting sight of any St Monicas records? I'd really appreciate some help. Many thanks.

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