Do you have memories of Birmingham Children’s homes?
In 2009 a small team, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Birmingham City Council, set about creating a history and archive of Birmingham's many Council-run children's homes between the years of 1949 and 1990.
The project, which finished in December 2010, has produced many sources of information about children’s homes which were run by the Council.
A website directory
A brief history of each of the 149 children’s homes is available on the Connecting Histories website. This is currently unavailable due to updating (July 2015)
A full version of this information, The Directory of Birmingham Council-run Children’s Homes, which contains the sources of the information in the histories, is available from Birmingham Archives and Heritage.
A guide to sources
Children’s Homes and Children in Care: a guide to sources held at Birmingham Archives and Heritage, a free publication exploring the history of childcare in Birmingham and detailing the resources available for researching it, is available from Birmingham Archives and Heritage.
Catalogues of material held in Birmingham Archives and Heritage relating to children’s homes can also be found athttp://calmview.birmingham.gov.uk. The project collected a number of oral histories from former residents and members of staff of Birmingham children’s homes, and these can be found in the catalogue with the reference number MS 2838.
There are also some surviving records relating to individual children’s homes, including Marston Green, Erdington and Shenley Fields Cottage Homes, as well as larger collections of material from Tennal School, Norton School and Shawbury Approved School.
Looking for your own records?
The case files of looked-after children are not kept by Birmingham Archives and Heritage, but are retained by the Children, Young People and Families Directorate. If you wish to access your case files you must apply in writing to the address below, providing proof of your identity, and giving as much detail as possible about services you have had contact with (including for example dates, places, and names of staff members) to enable the efficient location of any surviving records. Alternatively, you can complete a Subject Access Request form, which can be obtained from the same team. Even if you complete a form proof of identity and details of service contact will still be required.
Data Protection & Freedom of Information Team
Children, Young People & Families Directorate
Birmingham City Council
Tel: 0121 464 4591
Please note that unfortunately, as is the case in many other local authorities, many older case files (relating to periods of time prior to the 1980s) no longer exist and it is likely that many searches will not be fruitful.
Thanks are due to all the individuals who came forward with memories and photographs during the time of the Birmingham Children’s Homes Project.