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Norfolk children's homes and children in care

Norfolk County Council 1948-74

The guardians committees only lasted 18 years.

They were abolished in 1948 and replaced by Norfolk County Council children’s committee.

A report by the children’s officer to the children’s committee on 5 May 1954 (C/C 10/81) provides some useful information about the county council children’s homes. The report states:

“Under Section 15 of the Children Act, the Local Authority must provide residential accommodation for children who for the time being are deprived of their own home life.

“The Children's Committee took over from the Public Assistance Authority six Children's Homes for children of school age and one Nursery for children from 2-5 years of age as follows:

  • The Old Rectory, Gresham – 24 children of school age. Now 20 children.
  • The Red House, Little Snoring – 20 children of school age. Now 12 children.
  • Garfield House, East Dereham - 30 children of school age. Now 20 children.
  • Shiels Court, Brundall – 20 boys, eight to 15 years.
  • Briardale, Long Stratton – 12 children of school age. Now nine children.
  • Denver Hall, Downham Market – 20 children, two to five years.

“These Homes were all reasonably small and the Children's Committee were fortunate in that they did not inherit any of the very large institutional type of Children's Homes.

“They have been improved in many ways and in several cases the number of children accommodated has been reduced so that they are now all small Homes.

“The following Homes have been opened since the Children's Committee was established in 1948:

  • The Durdans, Mundesley – Nursery 0-5 years.
  • The Grange, Overstrand – 22 children of school age.
  • Girls’ Hostel, 191 College Road, Norwich – 14 adolescent girls.
  • Reception Home, Grove House, East Dereham - 30 children.
  • Boys’ Hostel, 60 Norwich Road, North Walsham - eight adolescent boys.”

The children’s officer added in this same report of 5 May 1954: “Since the opening of Grove House as a Reception Home the use of the nursery accommodation in County Homes [the former Workhouses or Public Assistance Institutions] is no longer required for children in the care of the Children’s Committee.”

The report also reveals that diminishing numbers of children were also accommodated in five county homes (the former public assistance institutions or workhouses):

  • Downham Market (Howdale Home) - 41 children in 1951, 57 in 1952, eight in 1953
  • Gressenhall (Beech House) - four children in 1951, none in 1952, one in 1953
  • Lingwood (Homelea) - 18 children in 1951, 18 in 1952, 11 in 1953
  • Pulham Market (Hill House) - 23 children in 1951, 25 in 1952, 10 in 1953
  • West Beckham (Beckham House) - one child in 1951, none in 1952, three children in 1953

Records, 1948-74

  • Norfolk County Council children’s committee, 1948-70 (C/C 10/79-87).
  • Norfolk County Council social services committee, 1970-74.
  • Registers of children under control of county council, 1930-71 (C/SS 7/64-66). Closed to public access for 100 years.
  • Register of children admitted into care, 1950-71 (C/SS 7/67). Closed to public access for 100 years.
  • Register of children discharged from care, 1950-71 (C/SS 7/68). Closed to public access for 100 years.
  • Denver Hall Nursery register, 1947-51 (C/SS 7/69). Closed to public access for 100 years.
  • The Durdans Children’s Home, Mundesley, registers, 1949-88 (ACC 1998/158). Closed to public access for 100 years.
  • Garfield House (East Dereham) record book, 1947-73 (ACC 2004/101). Closed to public access for 100 years.