Pictures from the Past

St Oswald's Girls Home.
St Oswald's Girls Home.

THE Shields Daily News of December 9, 1891, declared its admiration and support for the new St Oswald’s Girls’ Home, properly the Diocesan Home for Friendless Girls, which had been established by the Church of England Society for Providing Homes for Waifs and Strays.

The home, originally situated near Morpeth, provided accommodation for 33 girls at first, but this number would soon increase.

In 1895, the foundation stone for a new building was laid on land donated by Earl Percy at Mast Lane, Cullercoats.

The original home later became the Beverley Hotel.

The new home, opened in November, 1896, was very well appointed, with kitchens, dining rooms, playrooms and workrooms, where the girls would apply themselves to sewing, laundering and similar domestic tasks.

Religious instruction was given by Canon Hicks and matrons saw to the physical wellbeing of the girls.

At its peak, St Oswald’s was home to 50 children, who normally stayed on until they were 18 then they left, often to go into service.

The girls earned their keep by taking in laundry or doing needlework and it was said that the profits from those ventures went towards the establishment of a similar home for boys – St Aidan’s.

During World War Two the children were evacuated and the home closed in 1939.

They never returned to Cullercoats - instead they went to another home at Princes Riseborough.

Local Studies often gets enquiries about children’s home records, but few have survived.

There may be further information at Tyne and Wear Archives.

If anyone has any further information, please contact Local Studies at North Shields Library on (0191) 643 5270 or e-mail