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Salvation Army homes for women: Lanark House Girls' Home and Hostel / the Knitting Home


Scope and content

Records associated with Lanark House and the Knitting Home, 1901-1919 and 1944-1950.

Throughout its use by The Salvation Army Women's Social Work, the property at 13 Laura Place, Clapton, served various purposes and was known by several names, but it was mainly called 'Lanark House'. During the period these records cover Lanark House served as a children's home (1901-1902), the Knitting Home (1902-1906; 1910-1929), a nursery home (1906-1909) and an industrial home and hostel for girls (1943-1966).

As well as being housed in Lanark House at 13 Laura Place, the Knitting Home was situated in the adjacent property at 122 Lower Clapton Road for some of the period covered by these records: 1900-1902 and 1906-1910.

The collection comprises records from the Knitting Home which continue across the changes in premises between 122 Lower Clapton Road and 13 Laura Place. These include two Girls' History Books covering 1901-1916, and an assisted cases Statement Book covering 1901-1919 that is thought to originate from the Knitting Home. The collection also contains another assisted cases Statement Book from Lanark House covering 1944-1950 when the property was used as an industrial home and hostel for girls.

The records contain personal and sensitive material and therefore, at present (2015), some volumes are closed under the Data Protection Act.

The records are arranged into the following series:

LNK/1: Girls' Statement Books: New Assisted Cases (The Knitting Home and Lanark House) [Closed]

LNK/2: History Books (The Knitting Home)

Records creator's history

The Knitting Home

Knitted goods were being produced at The Salvation Army's Grove House No.1 Rescue Home from at least July 1889 and in January 1890, Grove House is described in The Deliverer as the 'Rescue Knitting Home'.

In July 1891, Florence Booth refers to Grove House as the Knitting Factory, and describes a new 'system of apprenticeship' whereby women who learned knitting-machine work with The Salvation Army would 'be enabled to repay us for the time spent in learning, and ... will be able also to refund the money for their board and learning during the time of apprenticeship'. In November 1891, a new Knitting Factory is described as having 'lately been opened at Clapton High Road', the knitting stock having been handed over from Grove House. The Knitting Factory was created in connection with the Darkest England Social Scheme. However a small knitting industry continued from Grove House until at least July 1893 (see adverts in The Deliverer, February and July 1893).

In March 1900, the Knitting Factory moved to The Salvation Army's 'new and extensive property' at 122 Lower Clapton Road, a former school, which it shared with the Receiving House. The Knitting Factory occupied 'three very large rooms beneath the big assembly hall' (The Deliverer, March 1900 p141). Around the time 122 Lower Clapton Road became the Women's Social Work Training Institute in June 1902, the Knitting Home moved into Lanark House, situated adjacent to the Training Institute at 13 Laura Place, but remained 'attached to The Training Institute' (Women's Social Homes and Hostels Book 3, p83). It remained in Lanark House until 1906 when it moved back into the Training Institute, which by then occupied 122 and 124 Lower Clapton Road. In 1910, it returned once more to Lanark House at 13 Laura Place and remained there until May 1929, barring a brief spell (January-October 1926) when 13 Laura Place became a Maternity Home known as Cotswold and 122-124 Lower Clapton Road became Lanark House and accommodated the Knitting Home. A 'hut' for associates of the Knitting Home opened at Laura Place in 1920. On 23 May 1929, the girls, associates and knitting industry transferred to St Cuthberts, Ross Road, South Norwood. St Cuthberts ceased to be an Industrial Home in 1947.

Lanark House was first used for Salvation Army Women's Social Work purposes in June 1896 when it was acquired for the use of the Nursery Home, which had previously been in Grove House. The announcement of its opening noted 'there will be no alteration in the nature of the work itself, or in the kind of needlework by which we trust still to partly support the Home'. The Nursery Home welcomed young, unmarried mothers with their children, but as in all London Rescue Homes at this time, needlework 'of all sorts' was also undertaken by residents to provide an income for the Home. Women were placed in suitable situations on leaving the Home.

In July 1901 the mothers and children of the Nursery Home moved out of Lanark House to 'The Nest', a newly acquired home on Springfield Road, Upper Clapton. This 'left Lanark House free for another enterprise; and Florence Booth decided to use it as a Children's Home', although its use as the Receiving Home was briefly considered. In March 1902 it had beds for 'twenty-four boys and girls'. However, according to the Women's Social Work Homes Statistics Book I (1898-1907; WSW/11/1/2/1), Lanark House closed as a Children's Home at the end of October 1902.

According to the Women's Social Homes and Hostels Book 3 (WSW/11/4, p83), the Knitting Home moved into Lanark House from 122 Lower Clapton Road at some point in 1902 and remained there until 1906. 'Lanark House' ceases to be included in Homes Statistics Book I (WSW/11/1/2/1) from 1903-1906 and the Statement Books (SS/2/1/2) include no admissions at all to 'Lanark House' throughout 1905 - the Home seems to have been referred to exclusively as the Knitting Home in internal records during this period. However, Lanark House is listed again in The Deliverer as a Home from March 1904, and in November 1904 it is described as having had 'recent improvements in its interior' which provided 'valuable additional space' for use by the Women's Social Training Institute next door at 122-124 Lower Clapton Road. Lanark House had close connections with the Training Institute at this period: Women's Social Homes and Hostels Book 3 (WSW/11/4, p83) describes the Knitting Home at 13 Laura Place as being 'attached to the Training Institute', and in November 1905, Lieut-Colonel Lambert is reported in The Deliverer as being appointed Warden of Amhurst Road Home as well as 'Principal of the Training Institute and Warden of the Home attached, besides superintending Lanark House Home, and the big knitting industry there.'

Lanark House reappears in Homes Statistics Book I (WSW/11/1/2/1) from November 1906, admitting women and children. Here it appears as Lanark House Inebriate Home with the 'Inebriate' scored out suggesting it may have briefly served this function or have been intended to serve this function. This correlates with the 1907 Year Book entry for Lanark House in which it is described as an Inebriates' Home. However, in the Statement Books, a new series of admissions to Lanark House begins in July 1906 with Home numbers starting from 3, and these admissions are of adult females with babies or sometimes toddlers, corresponding with the demographic recorded in Homes Statistics Book I. The series continues throughout 1907 and 1908, and in The Deliverer in February 1908, Lanark House is referred to once again as the 'Nursery Home'. According to the Women's Social Homes and Hostels Book 3 [WSW/11/4, p71 and p83], Lanark House was a Home for Mothers and Infants from 1906-1910 and the Knitting Home was separated from Lanark House for the same period. During this time the Knitting Home was located in the Training Institute at 122-124 Lower Clapton Road. However, according to Homes Statistics Book II (1908-1917; WSW/11/1/2/2), Lanark House closed as a Nursery Home for mothers and infants in January 1909 and the Knitting Home returned to Lanark House in 1910 (Women's Social Homes and Hostels Book 3, p83).

Statistics for the Knitting Home appear separately to those for Lanark House Home in Homes Statistics Books I and II throughout the period of Lanark House's reopening as a Nursery Home between November 1906 and January 1909. It is only in the statistics for the year ending 30 September 1911 (ie from October 1910) that the Knitting Home is first referred to as 'Lanark House Knitting Home'. Lanark House appears consistently as the Knitting Home in the Year Books from 1910 to 1929. However, for a brief spell, from January or February to October 1926, the property at 122-124 Lower Clapton Road became known as Lanark House and the Knitting Home moved there, while the original Lanark House at 13 Laura Place became known as Cotswold and housed mothers and infants. When Cotswold moved to 55-57 Downs Road in October 1926 both the Knitting Home and the name Lanark House returned to 13 Laura Place, but the Knitting Home only remained there until 23 May 1929 when it transferred to St Cuthberts, Ross Road, Norwood.

From 27 February 1930 until around March 1943, Lanark House at 13 Laura Place housed the Receiving Home. It was given over entirely to the Receiving Home from February 1930 to July 1932, but after the work of the former Clock House Industrial Home was moved into Lanark House on 22 July 1932, only 'a certain section [was] allocated for the Receiving Work' (The Deliverer, September 1932 p103). Lanark House housed the Industrial Home from July 1932 to April 1939 according to Homes Statistics Book 5 (WSW/11/1/2/3). A note in Women's Social Homes and Hostels Book 2 (p56) states that 'No returns have been received since April 1939. Major Gauntlett states that the Industrial Home is now closed' (WSW/11/4).

13 Laura Place continued as the London Receiving Home until a Hostel was added in June 1943. Women's Social Homes and Hostels Book 3 states that it was 'now to be called "Lanark House" Industrial Home and Hostel' (WSW/11/4 p71), and it appears as such in the Year Books from 1944 to 1947, so an Industrial Home component seems to have been reintroduced. Around the same time, Springfield Lodge in Denmark Hill became the Receiving Home. In Homes Statistics Book 6 (WSW/11/1/2/4), from the year ending 31 March 1945 to the year ending 31 March 1949 13 Laura Place is referred to as 'Lanark House' Clapton Industrial Home, although it continued to deal almost exclusively with Assisted Cases, not Home Cases, except for a brief period between 1946 and 1948 when some Home Cases are recorded. However, Women's Social Homes and Hostels Book 3 (WSW/11/4 p71) records that Lanark House ceased to be a Girls' Home from the end of August 1948 and became just a hostel from 1 September 1948. In the Homes Statistics Book 6 (WSW/11/1/2/4) entry for the year ending 31 March 1950 Lanark House is recorded as dealing with 'Associates Only'.

On 26 May 1966 Lanark House closed as a Hostel for Girls. This was the last time the name Lanark House was used for the property at 13 Laura Place. On 14 February 1967, 13 Laura Place reopened as Crossways, a maternity home transferred from 9 Amhurst Park, Stamford Hill. It remained in operation as Crossways Maternity or Mother and Baby Home until 1978.

Conditions governing access

Some of this collection is closed to the public. Records of a personal nature relating to identified individuals are closed for the lifespan of the individual. When it is not possible to establish whether an individual has died, a closure period of 75 years (if the individual was an adult when the record was created) or 100 years (if the individual was a child when the record was created) is imposed under the Data Protection Act [1998]. Former residents can apply for access to their own records. Please enquire for details. Open files can be viewed in the reading room of The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre, open Tue-Fri 9.30-4.00. To make an appointment or to enquire about your own records, phone: 0207 326 7800; or email: heritage@salvationarmy.org.uk .

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Other finding aids

A multi-level description of this collection can be accessed in the International Heritage Centre's online catalogue:

. A paper catalogue is available in the reading room of the International Heritage Centre.


4 volumes



Social work


Corporate names: The Salvation Army 1878-present

Language of the material


Records creator

The Salvation Army

Content provider

Salvation Army International Heritage Centre Archive