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Eden's Orphanage

This was a gift of James Eden when he died in April 1874, a former partner in the bleaching firm Eden and Thwaites. A total sum of 50,000 for the building of a home for the care and support of Bolton's destitute orphans. It was located on the former site of Taylor's Tenement Farm.

[gothic style red brick building]

40k GIF 131k JPEG Eden's Orphanage Gate House September 1990

The lady in the picture is a former resident of the home, Laura York Scoggin from 1910 to 1919.

The free gothic style home (architect J.J. Bradshaw) was built on Thorns Road in Astley Bridge and the area today has been known as Sharples Park. It had only two matrons and masters at the Eden Orphanage, Mr. and Mrs. Bignall, and Mr. and Mrs. Harper. There were two wings, male and female, with playgrounds, wash houses, a swimming bath, and the attics had been allocated for infirmary use, but a hospital is evident on the site in around 1930. It also had a large hall with a stage, a gymnasium, nine classrooms, kitchens and dining room.

Some recollections of those staying there during 1910 to 1919 are not too happy, children where known by their number, gruel and black bread was often on the menu, however they learnt to swim and sew as they knitted scarves and other items for World War One, other classes were also held.

In 1951 it was taken over by the Isis Independent School (established in Mawdsley Street in 1948), but closed in 1966 when it became uneconomic to run.

[stone plaque]

39k GIF 138k JPEG Plaque on the gatehouse 'Eden Orphanage 1878' September 1990

The site and buildings were sold for residential use, most of the old buildings were demolished, however the gatehouse (as pictured above) still remains. I am grateful to Joan Scoggin-Chapal for the pictures and information from the memories of her mother Laura York Scoggin and Laura's sister Beatrice York Plummer, and their brother Cecil York.

Another well known orphanage was that built in 1874 by Dr. Samuel Chadwick, was the Chadwick Orphanage in the Haulgh but demolished in 1963. His statue is in Victoria Square.

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