Report - - St Edwards May 2011 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - St Edwards May 2011


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
St Edwards Boys School - Coleshill, Warwickshire.

Was a great day, visited with HappyShopper.

History :

Father Hudson’s Society was founded by Father George Vincent Hudson. Father Hudson was born in 1873 at Kinsham in the parish of Bredon, Worcestershire. He studied for the priesthood at St. Mary’s College Oscott and was ordained in 1898. A week after his ordination he was sent to Coleshill as parish priest.

St Edward's Refectory approx 1936
Fate was to play a part in helping his grand scheme to come to fruition. At the turn of century Pope Leo Xlll invited the Bishops of the world to consecrate the new century to Jesus Christ by some special work of charity. The Bishop of Birmingham at the time, Bishop Ilsley, decided that the aim of the Birmingham Diocese should be the rescue and protection of homeless Catholic children. He knew of Father Hudson’s ideas and so asked him to undertake the rescuing of children for the Diocese of Birmingham


The Birmingham Diocesan Rescue Society for the Protection of Homeless and Friendless Catholic Children was established in 1902 with Father Hudson as its first Secretary and Administrator. Father Hudson remained in Coleshill from 1898 until 1934. During that time the work of the Rescue Society grew, in particular the children’s homes. Its expansion included St. Vincent’s, a home for working boys in Moseley Road Birmingham, St. Edwards Boys Home, St George’s and St. James’ Cottage Homes for boys and St Gerard’s hospital for children in Coleshill.

St. Gerard’s was the result of Father Hudson’s vision for a purpose built infirmary, not just for the boys of St. Edwards but for those from all Catholic homes in the Diocese and the Catholic children from the workhouse hospitals. Two new schools were established in Coleshill through the Society. Father Hudson’s devotion to the children, his patience, energy and great administrative skills guided this development and the Rescue Society became known colloquially as Father Hudson’s Homes


St Edward's Refectory approx 1936
Fate was to play a part in helping his grand scheme to come to fruition. At the turn of century Pope Leo Xlll invited the Bishops of the world to consecrate the new century to Jesus Christ by some special work of charity. The Bishop of Birmingham at the time, Bishop Ilsley, decided that the aim of the Birmingham Diocese should be the rescue and protection of homeless Catholic children. He knew of Father Hudson’s ideas and so asked him to undertake the rescuing of children for the Diocese of Birmingham.

Father Hudson was also the first secretary of the Catholic Emigration Society that was formed in 1903. The Rescue Society took full advantage of the opportunity to offer children from the Midlands the opportunity of a better life in Canada. Father Hudson made about thirty trips to Canada to oversee the child migration programme. Canadian emigration ceased in 1935 during the Great Depression.

Father Hudson’s great labours took their toll upon his health; he retired due to ill health in 1934 and died on 25 October 1936 aged 63 years. On his retirement his assistant and great friend Fr. John Connor took over his role, sadly he too was taken ill and died of cancer at the beginning of 1935.


Father Hudson’s retirement and death was sorely felt by the Society but he was followed by many other dedicated priests and Administrators. The work of caring for children developed. Further children’s homes were established including St Joan’s home for girls. Mother and baby homes and nurseries were set up in Birmingham and Coleshill. During the 2nd World war the number of children needing care increased as did the number of illegitimate births leading to increased provision for both.

The care of older working boys expanded through extending the work of St. Vincent’s and establishing further hostels. In 1945 the Society acquired Priory Farm at Studley in Worcestershire for boys not destined for industrial or commercial work in Birmingham. Here the boys worked on their own 250acre mixed farm. Girls leaving the
Bishop Griffin, Administrator of the Homes 1937-1943, at the opening of the new playing field for the Homes in 1943.

By the start of the 1970s more and more emphasis was being placed on returning children to the care of their families or finding foster and adoptive homes for them, rather than maintaining large institutions. The number of children in the homes dropped dramatically as Local Authorities stopped referring children. Changing attitudes in Society, both towards unmarried mothers and abortion meant that there were fewer babies coming into care or being offered for adoption. Also there was a gradual realisation that foster care was possible not only for babies and toddlers but also for older children and those regarded as difficult to place for adoption for various reasons.


There was a move towards family support work to prevent children from having to come into care. Falling numbers resulted in the gradual closure of the children’s homes. There were also no longer the numbers of young men moving to St.Vincent’s and in a two phase development it became first a children’s home and then a home for the elderly. By 1989 all the homes had closed as residential units for children.


Developments in child care had overtaken the Society. Many of the changes that affected the Society were the result of the 1975 Children Act, although the full force of the regulations did not come into effect until 1984. As the Society was forced to close more homes, hostels and nurseries, as a result of dwindling numbers, a working party was set up in 1979 to examine the whole future of the Society.

It was realised that care for children could no longer be the sole aim of the Society. One change was that the Society became involved in the care of the elderly. St. Joseph’s, originally part of St. Gerard’s accommodation for nurses, became a home for the elderly. In 1981 when St. Edwards closed and the remaining boys moved to St. Andrews it was hoped to use it as a home for the elderly but the cost of converting it proved prohibitive at a time when the Society’s finances were at a low ebb.

In 1983 the St. Catherine’s wing of St. Joan’s was used to give respite care to young people with learning difficulties. The future of St. Gerard’s was under consideration, as it registered under the Private Hospital and Nursing Home Act but continued to treat National Health patients.

In 1982 the Birmingham Diocesan Rescue Society restructured to become a company limited by guarantee. In 1984 the Society’s name was changed to Father Hudson’s Society. In 1985 the Society had complied with the Children’s Act by becoming a corporate body and had passed a rigorous inspection by DHSS to gain approval as an adoption agency.




In 1984 after more than 90 years of clerical leadership Michael Pinches was appointed as the first lay director of the Society. He had the mammoth task of guiding the Society through a time of great change, restructuring and re –thinking. The work of fostering and adoption continued. The Children Act had also made it mandatory for adoptees to receive counselling before accessing their birth records. The counselling role together with helping children who had been brought up in the care of Father Hudson’s or who had emigrated through the society to find out about their origins became an increasing part of the work of the Society and was the beginning of the Origins service offered today. The change of direction towards the care of the elderly and those with disabilities continued. In 1985 St. Andrew’s was adapted as a home for 10 young adults with learning disabilities. In 1986 the St. Catherine’s and St. Michael’s wings of St. Joan’s were adapted to provide a home for 16 young people with physical and learning disabilities. In 1989 St. Margaret’s was adapted to become a day care centre for people with learning disabilities.





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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Around this time the Society began reaching out to some of the most neglected and despised members of society. - the homeless, drug addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes. This was the start of Community Projects work.
In conjunction with the Legion of Mary and two sisters of Our Lady of Charity a drop in centre was opened in Balsall Heath in Birmingham. This later became the Anawim Project.
In 1991 Michael Pinches retired and Kevin Caffrey took over the role of Director. His appointment coincided with the decision to make Father Hudson’s Society the official Social Care Agency of the Archdiocese. Soon after his arrival the New Routes Fostering Project was developed, which began to recruit and train foster parents for children temporarily in the care of the local authority. The traditional work of adoption was also being radically changed, with fewer babies available for adoption adoptive homes were sought for older children, those with special needs and for family groups. This is now firmly established as the Families through Adoption Project.
In 1993 the Society began to support the Hope Community in Heath -Town Wolverhampton which has now become the Hope Family Project. In 1999 the Society helped to set up Brushstrokes as a collaborative Community Project. The Community Project work has developed to include support for parish based projects. From 2006 it has included School Based Family Support Projects.



Under the umbrella of Adult Care Services the work with the elderly and people with disabilities has continued to develop. In 1997 day care provision moved from St. Margaret’s into the former St. Edwards school. Some of the former children’s home buildings, which had been converted for use as residential homes for the elderly and people with learning and physical disabilities were becoming unsuitable for purpose and were failing to meet increasingly stringent regulations. Further refurbishment of those buildings was considered, but this still would not bring the buildings up to the standard required. It was, therefore, decided that these would be replaced with new purpose built buildings. In 2002 St. Catherine’s bungalows for people with multiple disabilities opened on the Coleshill site followed the same year by St. Joseph’s Home for the frail elderly and those with dementia.

More than 100 years after Father Hudson arrived in Coleshill the Society that bears his name is a very different organisation from the one he knew yet his vision and his spirit continue to guide it. The Society continues to obey Christ’s command to “love one another as I have loved you†by providing services for children, young people, adults and families. It will continue to change and develop to meet the changing needs of society.



Its easy to forget and buy into all the good that the foundation has done over the years, however its not without its horrors I,m afraid.

The Times Online

“The archdiocese of Birmingham has the country’s highest rate of sexual and child abuse allegations. Two priests from the Father Hudson’s Society in Coleshill, Warwickshire, Eric Taylor and Sammuel Penny, were each jailed for seven years in the 1990s after police suspected that they had been running a paedophile ring at the same children’s home.
West Midlands Police are now investigating a further allegation by Mark Hall, an 18-year-old Cambridge University student, against Father Richard Dinnis, 62, a parish priest for St Catherine of Siena Church in Birmingham. Mr Hall, who was coached for his Cambridge interview by Father Dinnis, claims the priest indecently assaulted him a number of times after he turned 16. Father Dinnis rejected claims of a sexual relationship, but wrote to the student’s parents apologising for the “inappropriateness†of his behaviour.â€

BBC News
Eric Taylor was jailed in 1998 for abusing boys at Father Hudson's Home in Coleshill during the 1950s and 1960s. He died in prison in 2001.Trustees of the Father Hudson's Society made a public apology on Tuesday, following the end of legal action.None of the present board had any involvement in Taylor's appointment.
Society 'appalled'
One man who suffered years of abuse at the home, said the apology meant victims could begin to put their ordeal behind them, The man, known only as Donald, told BBC WM in Coventry and Warwickshire: "It's been very difficult.
"There was always pressure to bring about closure. To have to relive constantly things that happened to you is not a particularly pleasant experience."He added: "I am delighted I can now say to my wife there are no more letters to be sent out - that's the end of it."It is estimated that the Father Hudson's Society has paid more than £500,000 in out-of-court settlements.The society did not admit liability in the legal claims, but said in its apology that it was "appalled" to hear of the abuse.Director Kevin Caffrey said in a statement: "The trustees are very sorry about all the victims and the way their lives must have been affected so tragically."In February 2001, Pope John Paul II removed Taylor from the priesthood in what was believed to be the first intervention of its type by the pontiff in the UK.
“The Independentâ€
Father Eric Taylor, who abused boys as young as six and then stood by as they were beaten by nuns for complaining, was found guilty of 16 charges of indecent assault and two charges of buggery.
During sentencing at Warwick Crown Court, Judge Marten Coates told 78- year-old Taylor: "For nearly seven years you were in a position of trust and authority at the home at Coleshill.
"These homes had been set up to rescue the most vulnerable people in our society.
"You told the jury the regime was harsh and boys were beaten in an unlawful manner. Not only did you do nothing about this, but you knew the fear of receiving such punishment meant that the boys were unlikely to complain.
"Those few who did knew their complaints would not be believed and secure in that knowledge you indulged yourself.
"The lifelong damage you inflicted has been seen during the course of this trial. The trust placed in you, you abused on a daily basis."
During the two-week trial the jury heard of a catalogue of offences at the Father Hudson's home in Coleshill, Warwickshire, between 1957 and 1965.
After the verdict, one jury member left the court in tears as it was revealed that Taylor had been previously been fined by magistrates for abusing four boys at his vicarage in Worcestershire in 1975
Taylor, of Aston-by-Stone, Staffordshire, was jailed for seven years on the two counts of buggery and five years, to run concurrently, on the charges of indecent assault.
Now in their forties and fifties, the 16 victims who helped secure a conviction are only the tip of the iceberg, it is believed.
At least two orphans who were at the home during Taylor's reign committed suicide, according to Warwickshire police who have also revealed that 10 more former residents had come forward since the beginning of the trial.
Victims told how Taylor was "like a Pied Piper" who was revered at the orphanage, by nuns who admired his status as a former prisoner of war, and by young boys whom he would reward with cigarettes, money and sweets.
Taylor, who spent four years in a war camp in Austria after being captured while serving with the Royal Navy during the Second World War, arrived at the home in 1957 after being ordained three years earlier.
He would prey on young boys as they slept in their dormitories, the court heard.
Nuns at the orphanage would beat those who complained with belts, canes, wet rags and straps, it emerged, and people who complained about Taylor's activities would be forced to do chores.
Taylor, who denied all the charges, was found not guilty of two further charges of buggery and one charge of indecent assault.
The Roman Catholic Church last night apologised to the priests' victims. A joint statement issued by the Father Hudson Society and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, read: "We deeply regret the effect of Father Taylor's actions and will offer counselling and ongoing support as appropriate to those concerned."
The Father Hudson Society has not operated residential homes since 1984 but runs a range of services including adoption, fostering, residential and day care for older people and those with disabilities.
Judge Coates told Taylor: "The boys came from all walks of life. You are a disgrace to your cloth and the church you proclaim. Your victims were not only young but they were helpless, you were the nearest thing they had to a father figure."



History taken from “Father Hudsons websiteâ€
News Statements taken from The Independent, BBC News and The Times Online.
Thanks for reading.


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