Seeking Footage of Mother and Baby Homes

I have been in touch with Ronachan Films, which has been commissioned by ITV in the UK to produce a documentary exploring child adoption in the UK from post war until the early 1980s.  The film is due for broadcast in the summer of 2016.

The one-hour documentary will examine the changing attitudes to single motherhood in the second half of the Twentieth Century, when tens of thousands of babies born to unmarried mothers were placed for adoption with British couples.

As part of their film they are in need of any photographs or moving images of Mother and Baby Homes. If you have any of these that you would be willing to share please find their contact information below!

The production team would be grateful for your help in finding professional and personal photographs and moving images of Mother & Baby homes during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

If you are interested in contacting the production team, please contact Alice and Rory at info@ronachanfilms.co.uk

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28 thoughts on “Seeking Footage of Mother and Baby Homes

  1. My mother ran a mother and baby home in Musselburgh East Lothian as a midwife during WW2. She was greatly helped by Lady Elphinston the sister of the Queen Mother who gave accommodation on her Carberry Estate. My father was an Army Medical Captain abroad at that time. We have family stories relating to this period but no film or photos. I am trying to research it for my own interest. There was extreme stigma at that time regarding illegitimacy. Many of the women wanted their babies baptised. One issue was finding a Minister to christen the children which may be an interesting issue for your film to cover as lack of a baptism certificate may have been more important then. ( Still needed to enrol in school in Ireland! ) Please let me know more about the film and when it can be seen. Very good idea!

      • Was this film ever shown? If so can you tell me when and which channel please, as I would love to see it. Thank you.. Chris

    • Jane McLaren, I just saw this post from 2016 and this is such an interesting story. I can only imagine, what women went through at that time as the stigma was bad, when I had my baby in 1965. This would make a very interesting book. Some of those mothers may still be alive, although very old but they must have carried that in their hearts all of their lives. What an amazing and strong woman, your mother must have been to be there for those desperate women.

  2. i was taken to Mother and Baby Home on 21st March 1966 and my daughter was born on 9th May 1966 I spent 12 weeks there and it was very nice, I have a photo of myself and my friend from America who was there at that time as she came over from Boston USA and we went there last year to see what it was like now. It was Barsham House, in Malvern, Worcestershire. My daughter Debbie found me in 2001 35 years later.

  3. I was in 141 WEST End Lane London in 1965. I remember it all so clearly. I have photo of my daughter taken in the nursery, with all the towels in the background. I was one of the very few who kept her baby and this was against everything my horrified family wanted. I was determined but remember the sadness each time the day came for mothers to hand over their baby for adoption.

    • So good to hear you kept your baby , that is the first time I have heard antyone doing that apart from my own mother who also went againts her parents wishes and kept me … although she did have a tough time in doing so … sha always said mothers had a choice .. they didnt have to give up their babies … society was very cruel in those days

      • Yes, Tracy society dictated many decisions the girls made who kept or didn’t keep their baby. My own mother and family all seemed more concerned about the shame I brought on the family and I found myself for many years almost being apologetic when I explained my circumstances to new friends. The feeling was ‘ will you still like me when you know the truth.’

      • My mother went to St Faiths Mother and baby home in 1959 and luckily for me my grandmother said that I was not going to be adopted. My mother said that they worked from 7am to 9pm before they had the baby. The babies were in cots in 6 rows and every week they moved a row nearer to the front row. when the cot reached the front signified that they would be taken away by their adoptive parents. How dreadful. There was no pain relief during labour.

    • Hi – this is obviously one hell of a longshot as you posted this over two years ago. I’m writing a novel, the protagonist of which is a woman born in a poor part of Liverpool in the late 60’s and put, by her mother, into a Mother and Baby home where the child is taken from her. Did your book ever get published? If so, could you tell me how to get hold of a copy? And if it didn’t, can you put me in touch with any other first hand source of information about these dreadful places? Assuming you pick this up, could you please leave a reply on my own blog? I look forward to hearing from you. And whatever you went through in those days, I hope you have at least found some peace somewhere along the line. Jeff Grant

  4. I was born in a mother a baby home my mother aged 16, she despite immense pressure from family and society to give me up for adoption she kept me. obviously making her life very hard in deed. Mum was 70 last year and we went back to where I was born.

  5. I was born at st Faiths bearsted mother and baby home and then spent first 3 months of my life in a childrens home in Beckenham Kent … My mother 16 yrs old then went against her parents wishes and kept me .. because of this she has had hardship because of societies outlook on unmarried mothers in the 60s
    Tracyjane8@hotmail.co.uk
    Kind regards, Tracy

  6. I was taken to Falloden nursing home in Leeds where on 28th July 1977 just before my 18th Birthday my pregnancy was terminated. I don’t remember a lot other than it being a very cold place and very unwelcoming. there were other young women/girls there but no-one really spoke to anyone else and the staff didn’t speak much.I wasn’t asked what i wanted to do or how I felt. My mother made the decision. She dropped me off there and picked me up and on the two hour drive home all she said was that I was never to talk about it again. I never have until today. I for no some reason googled it and found your site. Now almost 40 years later and i have 2 sons, a grandson and a granddaughter. I will be 56 soon and still it breaks my heart. I wish I had been braver and not so frightened of my mother. Life is not for regrets and its heart too hear of those of you that whose mums were brave.

  7. I have been on these sites numerous times trying to find like minded people to talk to about my experience. I really wanted to find information on the home I was in but no one seems to know anything about it ,I know it was included in a survey by Jill Nicholson a number of years ago I knew it as Berkley House in Blndlesands Crosby Liverpool, I cannot remember the catholic name for it ,that’s what I was trying to find out. Al that was 2 to 3 years ago. Since then I have found my son by using after adoption in Manchester, my son is 52 and delighted I have found him, we have just had our first Christmas together as a family. Everything has turned out so well for us ,I know it doesn’t for a lot of us women . If the film was called the British adoption scandal I saw it it was excellent is there any chance it will be on again ,I would like to keep it

    • How wonderful that you have found your son. You must both feel fulfilled, now that the huge gap is filled. Good to hear a happy ending. I watch Long Lost Family and cry every times as it makes me think about the pain I saw the young girls, in a mother and baby home with me, suffered when it was time to leave their babies. I am going to try and see if I can fine the film you referred to, on the internet as would love to see it.

    • In the book ‘Where to find Adoption Records’ there is an entry for Mater Dei Hostel,Berkley House,Blundellsands, Liverpool 23. Closed in 1975. Run by Liverpool Catholic Social services. Hope that helps – Veronica

      • thank you Veronica, I would now love to be in touch with any of the girls who where in there around October 1964 ,how could I do this without upsetting anyone.

  8. I was born in a Catholic run home in Derby in June 1963, I can’t find any records of it. My mum was 15 when she was sent there, prior to this she attended Notre Dame RC High school in Cheetham Manchester (may be relevant). Age old story of local posh girl gets with local tough boy (who happened to have a posh name). She wouldn’t give me up, my nan even told me that she met the lovely couple from America who were going to adopt me even though she didn’t meet me till I was over a year old! Trying to cut a long story short is hard when I can’t remember all that I was told. I know my mum had a hard time, & I think I we were still there till I was at least 6 months old, I know for sure we were still there after the assassination of President Kennedy in the November because my mum said she was feeding me there when she heard the news. My nan eventually forged my grandads signature which enabled my mum and dad to marry in April 1964. I accepted this story growing up. My birth wasn’t registered till I was over a year old, says on certificate – by order of the courts, my parents explained this as they didn’t register me till they were married as they wanted me to have my dads surname – which once again I took as fact – not even joining the dots after I had my own children. Now this is the strange part, not long after my mum died (dad went yrs before) a distant relative contacted my son on Facebook, he was doing a family tree (dads side), he had found everybody even going back to early 1800’s but apparently had found my birth registered twice, approximately a year apart, he said this usually happened when a baby had died and the next born given the same name, he said the only conclusion he could come up with was that the nuns / sisters or priest forged my birth certificate to give my mum decency. I don’t know how this was done or if it is fact, he found my birth (s) registered under my dads surname name, yet I couldn’t have had that name as they weren’t married, & surely even back then it wouldn’t have been possible to register a birth twice in the same county? I was wondering if anyone else has had this experience, also can anyone shed any light on the name of the place where I was born. It just says Wirksworth, County of Derby on my birth certificate. Thanks Cheryl

  9. i would still love to hear from Veronica or VVC677. I cannot find the original post but I think Veronicas mum may have been in there . here’s hoping I find her

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