The Great Yarmouth home for Fallen Girls

Matron Trudgett

Matron Trudgett - Credit: Archant

Well before the welfare state, St Nicholas’ Church aided many institutions that helped those in need in the borough, through regular collections. One of these was Breydon House and Hope Cottage for Fallen Girls. This was founded in 1883 at 56 North Quay. Its object was to “protect friendless girls and to rescue those who had fallen”.

Nurse Vallender

Nurse Vallender - Credit: Archant

The president was the vicar and it was supported by the church. The association had two classes of members, firstly, associates, who pledged money and their prayers and, secondly, working associates (24), who worked actively with the girls. The organisation trained and found suitable places in domestic service for girls aged 14-20 years.

They provided them with outfits, as many arrived in worn clothing. The girls paid for the outfits out of their earnings. Cooking, sewing, laundry work and housework was taught.

During its first four months, 82 girls applied for situations and 54 were placed in work. From 1884-89, 58 out of the 150 girls who had passed through Hope Cottage were doing well and leading useful lives.

Hope Cottage was for girls who wished to leave the workhouse. They were sheltered until they could be found a permanent home. In the first three months, 17 girls were received. Some of them were “very young and in circumstances of great temptation”. This work was financed by subscriptions from parishioners.

In 1889, a new and better house, Clarence House in Havelock Road, was used for this work. This house needed to be furnished for the comfort of seven or eight girls and two to three attendants. An offertory at St Nicholas’ Church was given over to this cause. No dishonest or immoral cases were received at the establishments.

Annual outings were arranged for the girls. In September 1898, the girls of Breydon House and those, who had been placed in service and had passed through the house, went for their annual outing to Fritton. They spent the day playing games and boating.

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After tea the girls ran races and met in the hall where they sung “The Day Thou Gavest Lord is Ended” to an organ accompaniment. The girls were then driven home “encouraged to live pure, honest and truthful lives”. The homes closed in 1945.

In 1908, Miss Trudgett retired as the matron after many years “valuable service; a splendid example of quiet Christian work”. A subscription was arranged and 90 people responded. With the money raised a framed address illuminated by J J Hall and £32 were presented to her.

“The most important work that is being so quietly and lovingly done”, was continued by Miss Vallender.