SHIRLEY OAKS CHILDREN'S HOME

Shirley Oaks Children’s Home was based in Croydon, Surrey on a 80 acre site with 52 houses which provided accommodation for between 8-14 children in each house. Complete with its own school, swimming pool, works depot and a doctor’s surgery it was the only world most of the children would know. It opened in 1904 to glowing reports with the Southwark Annual stating how Shirley Oaks was a model village created for children whose parents had died or were unable to look after them. The mission statement was to train the children in a career away from the physical disadvantage of the crowded districts and also from the morally injurious influences which are powerfully demonstrated in the streets of the great metropolis. Tens of thousands of children passed through the gates of Shirley Oaks. For most vulnerable children aged between 2 -10 years, it was easy to believe they had been sent to an outpost of heaven. Lush green fields surrounded the village style setting with houses branching off the enclosed ring road which would end up being a road paved to hell. Sadly for most of the children they would have been better off to fend for themselves on the streets than being left in the hands of the state controlled children’s homes.

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