A Brief History of Frodsham
Newton Hall was established by the NCH (National Children's Homes). The NCH was started in 1869 by Dr Thomas Bowman Stephenson and taken over by the Methodist Church in 1871. In 1902 £20,000 was left to the NCH by a Miss Fowler in memory of her brother, John Fowler. The Newton Hall estate was purchased with this money and in 1903 the first two houses were occupied. It was the tenth branch of the NCH.
Kelly's Directory of 1910 gives some information on the growth of the home: NEWTON-BY-FRODSHAM is a township and small village, pleasantly situated on elevated ground, on the road from Frodsham to Tarporley, 2 miles south from Frodsham station, ... and commands an extensive and beautiful prospect, in which the river Weaver forms a prominent feature. The National Children's Home and Orphanage Cheshire branch), founded by Dr Stephenson, occupies the Newton Hall estate of about 20 acres and comprises six houses, each for 25 children, in charge of matron and assistant, school laundry, central kitchen &c. Newton Hall is used as a hospital: there are now (1910) 190 children in the home; the girls are prepared for domestic service, laundry work &c. and the boys are taught farming, bootmaking &c.. It records that Stanley Walton was the governor.
The entry in Kelly's Directory for 1928 updates this: The National Children's Home and Orphanage (Cheshire branch), founded by Dr. Stephenson, occupies the Newton Hall estate of about 20 acres, the Lower House farm of 43 acres, acquired 1914, and about 44 acres purchased since. The home comprises ten houses, each for 25 children, in charge of matron and assistant, laundry, central kitchen &c. Newton Hall is used as a hospital; there are now (1928) 306 children in the home; the girls are prepared for nursing and domestic service, laundry work &c. and the boys are taught farming, boot making &c. Saml. S Snell was governor. It also lists a telephone number for the home.
The 1934 Kelly's Directory entry shows the growth in buildings and land continuing: The National Children's Home and Orphanage (Cheshire branch), founded by Dr. Stephenson, occupies the Newton Hall estate of about 20 acres, the Lower House farm of 43 acres, purchased 1914, and about 110 acres given and acquired since. The home comprises 12 houses, each for 25 children, in charge of matron and assistant, laundry, joinery and boot repairing shops, together with extensive gardens and farm lands, central kitchen &c. Newton Hall is used as a hospital; there are now (1933) 310 children in the home; the girls are prepared for nursing and domestic service, laundry work &c. and the boys are taught farming, gardening, boot making &c. The governor was still Saml. S Snell, John Ede was the farm bailiff.
Newton Hall ceased to be a branch of the NCH in 1985 and is now a nursing home and private residential development.
At its peak Newton Hall was home to 350 children.
The houses were set round a circle. Most were named after NCH benefactors. Each house block had four self-contained units each with eight to ten children cared for by a sister.
- Redmarley, the Governor's house
- William Walker and Fowler Memorial House
- Mary and Annie Fowler House
- Chapel and Tower with the nursery, staff dining room and Superintendents' houses (Mountfield and Caswell) behind
- William and John Fowler House
- Benerman Walker and Charles Garret House
- Stephenson Office and store block with candidates' bedrooms. Behind this was Haworth Hall, Newton Hall House, the fruit and vegetable gardens and the baby house (originally Guest House, more recently Orchard End).
- Firbank, joiner's workshop and outdoor swimming pool (later a garage block).
In 2007 a plaque was unveiled on the Circle at Kingsley Green to commemorate Newton Hall. The wording on the plaque reads
This was the Frodsham branch of the National Children's Home and Orphanage whose motto was "Need not Creed."
4113 children were cared for here between 1903 and 1985.
Unveiled on 27th May 2007 by Dr. Paul Snell, son of Samuel Snell who was governor from 1927 to 1957.
Sources of more information:
- The best source of information I have seen is the booklet Memories of Newton Hall 1946-57 by Pat Hayes. I think this was out of print but I have recently been able to buy a copy (Oct 2006) so it may be generally available again.
- Records of individual children at the home would, in most cases, be retained by NCH (now Action for Children - see http://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/content/170/History). Access is strictly controlled (see, for example, http://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/content/303/Former-care-residents). More (unofficial) information about life in the homes and availability of records is available at http://www.theirhistory.co.uk/, see next bullet point.
- The web site www.theirhistory.co.uk has the history of a child in care at Highfield Branch of the NCH. It also has information on other NCH branches, including more information about Newton Hall with lots of photographs under "Other NCH Homes" and more under "Your Own Photos".