National Children's Home & Orphanage, early 20th century




The information on this page combines information from several other pages and needs reformating.

Apologies for any inconvenience.


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Picture from http://www.fotosearch.com/
The Postcard Detective

Rogues Gallery







National Children's Home and Orphanage
44. A Picture in the Dell at Harpenden







Presumably these girls were all residents of the National Children's Home and Orphanage at Harpenden.

Can you recognise anyone - and put a date on the photograph?

The card would appear to be number 44 in a series of post cards illustrating the Homes, and not just the one at Harpenden. Can anyone date other cards in the series, which would help to date this one?

Mowing the Lawn, National Children's Home, Harpenden  

National Children's Home and Orphanage


Mowing the Lawn at the Children's Sanatorium, Harpenden

circa 1940?

Background Information

There is information on the homes at Their History - History of a Child in Care

Key Dates

  • 1869 - NCH founded by Rev Thomas B Stephenson, a young Methodist Minister, when he converted a disused stable into a home for orphans and abandoned children in Lambeth, London

  • 1910 - Sanatorium and new branch at Harpenden in Hertfordshire opens, to provide for children with TB.

  • 1913 - The Headquarters of NCH are moved from Bonner Road to Harpenden

Harpenden 1917 Kelly's Directory for Hertfordshire

  • Sanatorium for Children threatened with Consumption, Rev W. Hodson Smith, principal; Theophilus N. Kelynack M.D., Ch.B.Vict., M.R.C.P. Lond., medical officer; sister Emma Goodin, in charge.

  • National Children's Home & Orphanage. Rev W. Hudson Smith, principal; J. Carnegie, governor.

Harpenden Revisited, by Maurice Ferrara

This book included two postcards of the Home (showing the laundry and the printing works) and two of the Sanatorium (a patient and a general view).  They are not dated and of a different style to the one shown above.  The description reads:

The Harpenden branch of the National Children's Home was founded in 1913 at Highfield Oval, off Ambrose Lane. It provided accommodation for 250 boys and girls of all ages, and was a village within a village, as it had its own chapel, hospital, school and workshops. At one time it even had its own farm of over 260 acres, on part of which now stands the BUPA hospital, opened in 1983. The last child left the Home in the summer of 1985, so its future is now uncertain.

....tuberculosis is now almost non-existent and in 1955 the sanatorium closed and it became Elmfield School.

June 2009

Edna (Larandia @t sky.com) of Luton wrote: By the clothes they are wearing it could be between 1920-1935.  I have a picture of my mum (Doris Templeman) skipping outside the main buildings, and although they are dressed alike and their hairstyles have been done the same, the clothes they are wearing fit what I thought of as 1930's, but behind them is a what I think was called a nurse and her outfit is to me, early 1900's.  In addition a photo I just found in the Luton News for 1931, Christmas, the nurses outfits are most certainly early 1900's.  They look like the servants you see in early films.


See also Elmfield Sanatorium, Harpenden, 1940's and The Maple Convalescent Home

November 2009   Page updated
February 2014   Mowing Lawn picture added
January 2016   Link to Maple Convalescent Home