The Royal Female Orphanage was established by Sir John Fielding in 1762. Its purpose was to house and school orphaned girls while training them for a productive life in service or marriage. In particular, girls were taught reading, sewing, knitting, cleaning, and kitchen work. Once they reached the age of fourteen, they became eligible to be apprenticed as domestic servants, though they could be placed by the committee in any trade deemed proper. If a girl successfully completed two years of domestic service, she was entitled to receive a gratuity, or prize money, of two guineas.
What’s Included in This Database:
This collection consists of a register of children admitted to the Royal Female Orphanage in Beddington, Surrey, between 1890 and 1913. Details indexed for each child typically include:
- Birth Date
- Date - this will usually relate to the admission date but in some cases will refer to the date a girl has been sent into service
In addition, the register typically includes information on the fate of each girl, such as how and where she was placed in service after leaving the orphanage, and whether she earned prize money for completing two years of service.