St Mary's Home for Boys, Runwell Road
Church of England's Waifs and Strays Society
St Mary’s was a purpose built house in 1901, funded and furnished by the Revd. H. K. Harris. It was built on a plot of land to the left of the Quart Pot, Runwell Road. Mr Harris carried on his work by acting as St Mary’s warden. He also organised all the home’s finances and administration by working as its Honorary Secretary and Treasurer. It was common for the Society’s small cottage homes to be run this way, through the inititive of one local benefactor.
St Mary’s housed twelve boys age 7-11 years. Local people were asked to sponsor a boy by providing £3 a year which would cover the cost of one boy’s clothing. Initiatives like this were encouraged by the Society as they allowed children’s homes to lay down roots in the local community and ensure a degree of long term stability.
In 1911 the Matron of the home was Mrs Rose Hayes.
Although the First World War did not dramatically disrupt the Society’s work, some of the smaller homes stopped running. One of these was St Mary’s which closed in 1915.
The land the house was built on belonged to St Mary’s Church and was possibly the site of the poorhouse.
Most of this information came from the Children’s Society web-site.
They do not have a photograph of St Mary’s Home in their archive.
The family living in the house, now called Runwell House, would welcome more information about the house.