History of the..

National Children’s Homes Orphanage

Dr Thomas Bowman Stephenson, a Methodist Minister from the East End of London had been involved in the creation of a children’s shelter from 1869. However, he longed to move the children away from the smoke, dirt and vice of London. In reply to an advertisement placed in the Methodist Recorder he received a message from Mr James Barlow of Edgworth to the effect that he would offer them the Wheatsheaf Inn at Edgworth, a notorious den of iniquity which he wished to close, along with 80 acres of land and a sum of £5,000. The first children arrived in 1872.

“Eventually the home would have its own farm with cattle, a dairy, bakery, laundry, blacksmiths, carpenters and a clog maker’s workshop. The stone-built houses where the children lived would span outwards from the Wheatsheaf building down Moorside Road and Broadhead Road. The houses still stand and from the outside are recognisable to returning children.” [www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/2245611.0/]

The home became residential accommodation for children with Special Needs and was closed in 2002. Records are in the archives of Action for Children.

Further information can be found in Edgworth to Crowthorn – the Story of a Lancashire Children’s Home by Anita D Forth, available from Bolton library.

"I believe that one of the comforts to us all out here is that we know we shall always be honoured in the old village."

Gerald Ainsworth, died Ypres Salient: 27th March 1918

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