Earlier this year, the Archives was very pleased to receive a deposit of photographs of children who had been residents at the Whinwell Children’s Home from the Archivist at Stirling University Archives. The Archives already held records relating to the Home, which were deposited here in 1981 and consisted of, amongst other things, files relating to individual children, some of which included photographs of the children. This new deposit has enabled staff at the Council Archives to reunite photographs of children with the other records that relate to them.
The Children’s Home was opened in 1884 and initially based at Springfield House, The Craigs, Stirling. This establishment was originally called ‘The Stirling Creche and Home for Neglected & Destitute Children’. The President of the Home was Mrs Goldie of Albert Place, with Mrs MacLuckie, Mrs Drummond, Mrs Stirling and Mrs Dundas forming the Committee.
In the first Annual Report of 1884, it is stated that the Home is ‘open for young children whose mothers are obliged to leave their homes during the day’ and for ‘permanent reception of orphans, and those from any cause bereft of their natural protectors’. The annual report in 1887 sets out the clear aims of the Home. It states that ‘At Springfield Home no absolutely destitute child is ever refused admission. On the other hand no child is admitted who is not absolutely destitute’
Whinwell House was purchased in 1890. The Superintendent and Secretary of the Home was Miss Annie K. Croall (1854 – 1927) and was run by a Board of Trustees after her death. The Home was closed in 1980 and responsibility for the children living there at the time taken over by the Aberlour Childcare Trust.
The Whinwell Home had links with organisations in both London and Liverpool, and many of the children in the care of the Home were eventually sent away to new lives abroad. Most children were sent to Canada although a few did go to Australia also. At the time, this was thought to be the best thing for the children, however, in some cases, the promise of new opportunities away from Scotland resulted in the abuse and ill-treatment of the children involved.
Two of the photographs in this collection show children about to leave England on the ships that took emigrants to Canada and Australia.