St George’s House Orphanage was based in Harrogate from 1898 until 1956. The orphanage supported children from the Northern Police Forces who had lost either of their parents. The orphanage provided education, companionship and important life skills to 644 children.
Due to the changes in the welfare state and the increasing popularity of fostering and adoption, St George’s House closed in December 1954. The remaining children were moved to Albany Lodge in 1955, until its closure in August 1956 when any remaining children were returned to their families. In 1955 St George’s Fund was set up providing weekly allowances to Police Officers’ children. This allowance were used to provide “support, maintenance, education and advancement in life” until a young person left full time education. This was entirely funded by the subscription from members of the Police Force.
Reunions of the St George’s Old Boys and Girls orphans began in the 1930s, but ceased soon after World War II. The reunions were re-established in 1964 and the orphans continued to meet annually for well over 50 years.
21st April 2018 marked the final reunion for the Old Boys and Girls. The attendees enjoyed a wonderful three course meal at the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate and were joined by some distinguished guests.
Lord and Lady Mountgarret and Mr Guy Fawkes attended the reunion; both of their families were seminal in establishing both St George’s House and the Police Treatment Centres. The Mountgarret family opened the Northern Police Convalescent Home in 1903 and two generations of the Horton –Fawkes family chaired the committees of both charities.
St George’s Police Children Trust was also delighted to welcome Mayor Anne Jones and her consort Steve Jones to the final reunion. Mayor Jones has visited the Police Treatment Centres on two occasions during her time as Mayor and has learnt more about the work of both charities. Mayor Jones spent the evening talking to many of the St George’s Old Boys and Girls, she commented that; ‘It is hard to imagine the dire circumstances that some of the children were in, but fortunately they had the orphanage based in Harrogate to support them. I have spent the evening talking to some of these orphans and they have such happy memories of their time at St George’s.’
The St George’s Old Boys and Girls continued their reunion on 22nd April 2018 with lunch at The Police Treatment Centres and an opportunity to reminiscence and look through historic documentation from the orphanage.
Baroness Angela Harris, Vice President of The Police Treatment Centres and St George’s Police Children Trust was also pleased to attend the final reunion but emphasised that the work of the charity continues; “It is a privilege to attend the final reunion of the St George’s Old Boys and Girls, however this is not the end of the story. St George’s Police Children Trust continues to support children of police families who have lost either parent through illness or injury on or off duty. It is important that these children continue to receive the support of the charity.”
Although 2018 marked the final reunion for the Old Boys and Girls, St George’s Police Children Trust continues to assist Police families. The Trust provides support to Police families by helping ease the financial pressures of bringing up children in the face of lifechanging circumstances. The Trust relies on donations from police officers to continue its work for the Police family; however if you would like to donate to the Trust further information can be found on St George’s website; www.stgeorgespolicechildrentrust.org/.
If you attended St George’s House Orphanage or know someone who did, St George’s would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org