Report - - Babies Castle Childrens' Home, Hawkhurst April 2010 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Babies Castle Childrens' Home, Hawkhurst April 2010


I should have danced all night
28DL Full Member
Visited with Jubs, Jubs and Bertie.

Rather dilapidated and not a lot inside but an interesting venture none the less. We bumped into some kids there and one of them was carrying around a big bottle of sweet chilli sauce. Cool! :D

Lot of history surrounding thi place:

The Babies Castle was officially opened on 9th August 1886 this institution was for the reception of babies. In 1908 Babies Castle became a mixed home for children under eight years of age. It was particularly used for babies and young children who, owing to their physical condition, were not suited for boarding out.

On the 21st September 1927 the new extension that had been built was officially opened another outstanding event of that year was the installation of a wireless set which was used for the first time on Christmas Day when the older children listened to the Children's Service.

In 1964 The Babies Castle was listed as a Nursery with 48 places which was a vast reduction from the early days.

To let you know a little more information we will use the notes of Thomas John Barnardo written about 1887

"Up till the year 1884 the "baby question" met me at every turn in the course of my work, and no answer to its insistent beseeching was possible. I might rescue a family of little girls from circumstances of direct dis*tress, and the Ilford Homes (Barkingside Village) gladly welcomed them; but how about the baby brother?"

So wrote Thomas John Barnardo in about 1887 and the notes give something of the problems he was experiencing in housing destitute children of both sexes. Since The Girls Village Home, Barkingside. (the Ilford Homes, as he describes them), was founded for destitute girls of all ages; the problem of where to house the babies of the male gender, seems to have been really acute, but then he goes on to describe how the problem was eventually solved.

"I need hardly say that I had already placed a baby in every one of the cottages at Ilford, the "mother" of which felt equal to such a responsibility; but this opening was soon ex*hausted, and then what was to be done? I have learned that God never sets His people a problem with*out keeping the answer in waiting, and just when my path seemed hedged with thorns, a way was unex*pectedly opened through the kindness of a friend of long standing, one who has since then, gone to his rest the late Mr. Theodore Moilliet. This gentleman, who owned property at Hawkhurst, offered me the villa of Hillside, consist*ing of two small houses, with the accompanying land, as a free gift to be used for the benefit of the Homes. At that very time my fundamen*tal principle of never refusing ad*mission to desti*tute cases was in imminent danger of break*ing down with regards to the babies. As I have said, most of the Ilford cottages were furnished with a baby, and it seemed impossible to provide for the rescue of several urgently needed cases just then under my observation. How joyfully and thankfully I accepted this timely offer at Hawkhurst can easily there*fore be imagined."

"The gradual extension of my work brought an even larger number of cases within my purview. When, as during the pe*riod under notice some 7,000 chil*dren come under my notice for in*vestigation in a single year, it would, indeed, be strange if not more than thirty babies at anyone time required in*stitutional care. Hence the old trouble began to re-assert itself not very long after the opening of the origi*nal Babies Castle. It was dif*ficult to accommodate sixty babies where there was room for only thirty, as it was to accommodate thirty where there was room for none; and soon an urgent call arose once more for enlarged space at Hawkhurst. Babies - above all, neglected babies - cannot be dealt with rightly ... through the mere "by efforts" of Insti*tutions not specially devoted to their rescue. Hence it was definitely decided, after much inconvenience had been ex*perienced, to erect, on the land given, as already de*scribed, a new Babies Castle which should gather in all the waifs whom I find deserted and maimed on the very threshold of life."

Here's the photos:





















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