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image credit: St Agnes’ Home, Pevensey Bay: Date: 1962 : The front of the Home.
This photograph was taken by the Society’s Estates Department. Rights: © The Children’s Society

Bay Life begins research into St Agnes’, Pevensey Bay, (1936-1972), the pioneering childrens’ home from home. Drawing on sources available, and through contact with children who stayed at the home, together with information from the Childrens’ Society, we aim to fill in some of the timeline gaps in the story.

The purpose of the home was to function as a convalescent home for children with disabilities. Property records indicate that the building was built around 1922, and that it was purchased by The Children’s Society in 1936.

The Home was evacuated in 1940 because of the Second World War and according to the 1940 Annual Report, St Agnes’ relocated to near Oxford as a war nursery. However, the sources indicate it is unclear which war nursery is being referred to. The building at Pevensey Bay itself was reopened as a Home after the war.

In 1964 residents of St Agnes spent their annual holiday on Hayling Island, Hampshire.

The Home closed in 1972 and residents moved to Harvey Goodwin House Home, Cambridge.

The building briefly reopened in 1974 as a holiday home for small groups of children in the care of The Children’s Society.

People can contact Bay Life here with their recollections of St. Agnes Childrens’ Home in Pevensey Bay. info@pevenseybaylife.co.uk

In this first memory of the home, Janet Eldridge, who was at St Agnes between 157-1960 talks about her time there, ‘running on the peebles’ and feeling that ‘the beach was our playground’

Memories of Janet Eldridge 1957—1960
My brother, Michael Eldridge and myself, Janet Eldridge were both admitted to St. Agnes’ Childrens Home in September 1957 and we left in April 1960. When admitted I was nearly 5 years of age and Michael, being the youngest was nearly 3 years.

I remember Ms Joan Paxton who I believe was the House Mother and although my memories are minimal I do not have any bad feelings about our stay in the CH.

I recall running on the pebbles and I am sure the house was set very near to the beach – it feels as if the beach was our playground!

I vaguely recall we had some ladies who used to take us out in their car for outings but unfortunately I cannot remember anywhere we went or what we did.

My care case notes state that I attended Pevensey and Westham CE Primary School and I assume that will have been the first school I attended. My brother, Michael must have started school during our stay.

It would be also be amazing to find out if there are any school photographs of that time in circulation.

Both of us will be very excited to hear of any photos and people that may have met us.

I look forward to hearing any latest news on this topic.