St. Aldhelm’s Home Press

The Church of England Incorporated Society for providing Homes for Waifs and Strays was established in 1881 to rescue and care for destitute and neglected children.  By 1887 there were 30 homes in England, caring for 1,000 children, one of which was in Frome.  A committee of local and diocesan members had been formed and 6 Sunnyside was leased, initally for 24 boys followed by 18 more a year later.

With the prospect of the lease expiring in 1872, the trustees raised funds to acquire a new site and build a home on the corner of Green Lane and Oakfield Road.  Beside the building itself there were workshops, a playground, carriage drive and garden, with accommodation for 42 boys, who after being educated at the National School, which stood at the top of Bath Street were sent into service or apprenticed to various trades.  One of the trades was printing, under a master printer, who was employed in the home.  This reflected the growing importance of printing in Frome.  The Home closed in 1950 and was adapted to a hospital caring for the elderly.

2 Responses to St. Aldhelm’s Home Press

  1. My father Leslie Wilson, and his younger brother Norman Wilson, were resident at St.Aldhelm’s Home after being taken into care by the C of E Waifs and Strays Society in 1929from Sunderland. They were under the tutorship of Master Printer Mr. Whalley. During the war my father was one of Montgomery’s desert rats in North Africa in the RAMC. Norman was a wireless operator in the RAF, based in Northern Ireland and Iceland. My mother Phyllis was in service nearby, for a family of solicitors in Rowden House, Vallis Way. Messrs Cruttwell, well known in Frome. One of her duties was to walk the boys to church two by two on Sundays. A romance blossomed when she watched the boys playing cricket. They were married in 1939 and then separated for six years by the war. My mother then spent the war years as an overseer in the Munitions factory, Bridgend, Glamorgan. In 1946 my father opened his own one man printing business, The Old Mill Press in Billingham, County Durham. Sadly, the business will close this year 2016, after 70 years. It has been in the hands of the same family my father sold the business to in 1982, the year he retired. His brother Norman did the same in Haverton Hill, Billingham opening The Galleon Press. My father’s Articles of Apprenticeship were donated to Frome Library in 2005. I hoped they might be displayed for the benefit of anyone interested in the history of St. Aldhelm’s.

    • johnattekiln says:

      Thanks so much for your interesting comment Glenys. The Museum is always grateful for input such as yours, which brings Frome history to life! Your comments are noted and we will endeavour to display your father’s articles when space permits. Meanwhile I can assure you they are safely archived.

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