From when it was established in 1864, until it closed its doors in 1961, the Farningham Home for Boys had one aim - to provide a refuge for boys who were prevented by bereavement or other hardships from leading a normal family life.
H.M. KING GEORGE V
H.M. QUEEN MARY
FIELD MARSHAL MONTGOMERY
HOME FOR LITTLE BOYS
Originally named ‘Home for Little Boys’ and situated in a disused parish poor house in the suburban village of Tottenham, north of London, the founders and benefactors were Mr W.H. Williams, Mr Robert Culling Hanbury (MP for Middlesex) and Mr A.D. Charles. In later years, Her Majesty the Queen became Patron, whilst Field-Marshall the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein became the home’s President.
But back to those early years. Overcrowding soon became a problem in Tottenham, so a site was acquired in rural Kent and the new, larger, home was built and renamed after a local village - Farningham. As the home expanded over time, it took in boys of all ages and from all backgrounds, creating craft houses to give them the opportunity to take up an apprenticeship in one of the six trades – and ultimately send them out into the world equipped for life.
There were up to 200 boys housed at any one time, from infants to teenagers. The home was to flourish for many years until economic reasons, and a change in attitudes nationally regarding child welfare, forced its closure 1961.
The site is now occupied by the Southdowns Retirement Village, and some of the original buildings still exist today. A more complete history of the homes can be viewed in the chapel at Southdowns on Old Boys Day, or by appointment with the management.
THE FARNINGHAM HOME FOR BOYS ASSOCIATION 1864 - 1961