This record is held by Liverpool Record Office

Details of 612VCC
Reference: 612VCC

The collection includes a set of minute books from 1925-1983, giving details of committees and the general running of the home along with reports made by the matron, superintendent and secretary. Reports on the children themselves and their circumstances are included and there are numerous photographs of the homes and trips made. This is a most unique collection and insightful collection, particularly for those interesting in the history of vegetarianism and in turn-of-the-century ideas about raising orphaned children.

Date: 1897 - 1986

The archive is arranged as follows, but readers are advised to read the head-note of each section.

Held by: Liverpool Record Office, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Physical condition: Good.
Access conditions:

Restricted access on some material.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Acc. 4300, Acc. 4426

Custodial history:

Records were deposited by Miss M O Amos of West Kirkby in 1985 & 1987

  • Liverpool, Lancashire
  • Liverpool, Merseyside
  • Child welfare
  • Dietetics
Administrative / biographical background:

'The Vegetarian Home for Children' was founded in 1874 by Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, a slum-worker in Liverpool, with the aim of improving the lives of destitute children and their families. She began this work at her home at 24 Village Street, Liverpool, later moving to 59 Phoebe Anne Street.


In 1897 the home became for children only with the principle of bringing up children in a family-type home and to be taught how to be good future citizens, learning crafts and skills and spending time in prayer. The first record of adherence to a vegetarian diet was in 1909, under the influence of Mrs. Jessie Hughes (daughter of Mrs. Thompson and matron of the home until 1926) and Helah Criddle (also a daughter of Mrs. Thompson and wife of Mr. John Criddle). The 'Humane Dietary', based upon practical moral and scientific principles was adopted as it was felt that "the principles of humaness and fellowship with the animal kingdom would be of great value in developing the character of the homes' charges" (quote from Appeal leaflet, 1953). Homeopathic principles were also applied to the treatment of illnesses.


In 1913 the institution moved to "Kelmscott", Beaufort Drive, Wallasey, which was built on land given by Miss Christine Todd. In February 1935 it transferred to "Orchard Dene", View Road, Rainhill, Lancashire.


Owing to changes in Child Welfare regulations and to rising costs, by 1950 it was decided to sell Orchard Dene. The remaining children at the home who could not return to their own families or be placed elsewhere were sent to an affiliated home in Jersey called 'La Preference", which continued until 1984. From 1951 "The Vegatarian Children's Fund" and "The Vegetarian Children's Charity" were set up to provide holidays, trips, etc., for underprivileged children, whilst also contributing to the upkeep of the Jersey home.

Link to NRA Record:

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