St Edward’s Home for Boys – Coleshill

St Edward’s Home for Boys was built in 1904 by a Catholic priest – Father Hudson. It was basically just that – a home for boys – usually given up by their poor parents. He died in 1936 and is buried in the grounds.

Father Hudson also had a home in Canada and many boys were sent there from the Midlands. This finished in 1935, but a few years later many boys were forced to emigrate to Australia instead, ending in 1955. In 1998 a priest who was in charge of the school was jailed – convicted of 18 cases of abusing children between 1957 and 1965 – he was jailed for 7 years. In 2001 he died in jail, a few months after the Pope stripped him of his rights as a priest.

The building has remained empty since 1996 and there are calls to demolish it because of it’s chequered history.

  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys

Hall & Chapel

Being a Catholic school, there was a place for religious activities. And being a school, also a school hall…

  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys

Corridors, stairs & rooms

There was a lot of fantastic wooden panelling in various rooms and corridors

  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys

Cookery

There was a large kitchen here – full of retro-looking Aga ovens, huge boiling machines, rows of sinks. Reminded me of home economics lessons…

  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
  • Thumbnail of St Edward's Home for Boys
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38 Responses to St Edward’s Home for Boys – Coleshill

  1. Al Bion says:

    Atmospheric stuff. Well captured, too.

    Where in EA is this place?

  2. Lulu says:

    Had a quick look around the home last night, very atmospheric indeed, we are thinking of going back to explore the whole building.
    Father Hudson’s body was exhumed from the grounds of the home and is now buried in the nearby Church ( to make way for St Joseph’s care home )

  3. Terence Coleclough says:

    I was a resident from 1939 to 1952.It was a sad place to grow up in.I find it difficult to draw on memories from these pictures.Is it possible to obtain photos of times past? Thanks for these.

    • Ivor Metcalfe says:

      Terence, I was resident there from 1939 to 1943. I was in Sister St. Anne’s house, just before going across to St. Edwards. I remember Jack Shearon and the two Lynas brother, Hugh & James, and when the bomb fell in the school playground. There were no air-raid shelters, and the concussion lifted us up off our mattresses on the ground floor at the back of the house. Anyone else remember?

      • helen mcneill says:

        Terence, I have just received the file on my great Uncle Harry/Henry Howells who was in St Edwards 1927 -1934.. do you recall him? he was age 7 upon admission and 14 when he left. His mother Leah Howells my great grandmother visited him often and paid 3 shillings a week for his care. I have a photo of him taken in 1932
        Regards Helen

    • Adrian Pownall says:

      Hello Terence, or indeed anyone reading this message, I was looking up St Eddy’s to see if I could get an idea of where my father Cyril Pownall spent some time. He would have been there around 1941 or 1942. Do you remember him? Coincidentally my wife, who was born in Sussex where we live, said that her father Ron Reynolds was in care in Liverpool around the same time or a little later. Does that name ring a bell? Sorry to trouble you but any clues would help. Kind regards, Adrian Pownall.

  4. Maggie Brown says:

    I am interested to find missing relatives whom I think may have been here and emigrated to Canada between 1901 and 1911. Is it possible to obtain a list of inmates for that time period please?
    Thanks, Maggie

    • morris116 says:

      hello Maggie,
      I can only suggest you contact the “Father Hudsons Society” which is still based in Coleshill.They have their own website.Person you need to contact is A Kevin Kaffray.All records are on file and available on request. As regards emigration,some records would possible be retained by the shipping lines involved in transportation, via the Canadian authorities.
      hope this helps.morris116

  5. joe.mylott says:

    i was st edwards for 17 yaers
    1962 to 1975. i rember it well

  6. James Elliott says:

    I was there from 1956 to 1959 along with my 2 older brothers it has brought back a lot of memories some sad and some happy I have a photo of the three of us standing in the play ground area I would like to see some photos of this if anyone has some .
    Thanks

    • Stefan Zukowski says:

      Hi James,
      I have got some photos from those days.
      Greetings
      Stefan

    • morris116 says:

      hello James Elliott,
      I was in the homes from 1951 to 1960, In St Vincents House .Sr Marie paul was in charge. Cannot remember your name ,depends whether you might have been in the main homes or the Cottage homes,or St Andrews which was in another part of Coleshill. I have several photo’s of the of the exterior of the homes,and the playing fields taken before the homes closed. Sadly the buildings are now in a serious state of decay. morris116

  7. John Murphy says:

    Hi Terry,remember the Murphys. We were there 1948 to 1952,then moved on to St Vincents.Do you remember Sr Rose, the Duck and Butcher. Happy Days

  8. lin says:

    I am trying to trace the journey made from the home in approx 1914 to CANADA of my uncle Albert Harvey.Where can I obtain this info?

    • morris116 says:

      hello Lin;
      Contact the “Father Hudsons Society”They are still based in Coleshill.They have their own website. They hold all records for boys and girls who went through the syatem. This includes emigration.The Canadian Authorties will have shipping line records as well. hope this helps.
      morris116

  9. soph says:

    i live right by it, does anybody remember paddy or derick? they roam around coleshill all day everyday. they are both a bit weird to be honest…. cant speak much, derick pretends he’s a cowboy… i feel sorry for what they probly went through.

  10. sarah field says:

    My sister was in the hospital as she had to have a leg operation at the age of 8 yrs old. I remember visitin everyday but there was something very eerie about the place even though i was visitin at the hospital which was run by nuns. Now i know about the history of the place i feel very sad for what those poor boys went through, i want to know if anybody else wa in the hospital too.

  11. keith lenton says:

    morris116,I remember three morris in the time I was in father hudson,two brother,stephan,paul morris and an other morris, they were all in st vincents house,sister mary paul was the house sister at the time,gee thats along time ago

    • keith lenton says:

      you remember me ??

      • paddy mullins says:

        keith i also remember you your brother ivan in st.vincents with sr.bernadette.when are you coming back to australia with peter o”brien,as i do not think you should have left.it;s gods country.yes i loved fr hudsons and the nuns,and that bad apple fr.eric taylor destroyed it all,and the kids welfare,am really sorry to say.danny mackle took it hard and got his man. Paddy Mullins. Perth,AUSTRALIA

  12. Mick Mcgrath- Known as Sandy Mcgrath says:

    At Father Hudsons from 1942-1956, worked in the kitchen with Sisters Fabian & joseph. anyone remember me?. regards to all. Mick

  13. keith whitehead says:

    i wasn’t at father hudsons but i went to st. pauls school (the central) in coleshill left in 1959 would love to hear from anyone who remembers me .
    regards to all the old lads & lasses keith

  14. linda says:

    i fond the home fascinateing and ofton go by just to look at it as i live not to far away , can anyone tell me what it was like to live there ? i see the old net curtains half way up the windows and imagine the poor children that lived there , can anyone shed some light on what it was like there please

  15. john steers says:

    Hi Linda , i was in the homes from 1967 until 1978 , probably in the rooms that you look at as you pass by. I have read comments on this site and others relating to the evil and wicked activities that took place over the years in the homes and it saddens me because , I LOVED MY TIME THERE. I was never lonely, i had loads off friends to play with , hang out with all the time. I had friends in school who were only children who would go back home to their parents each night and sit alone in their room watching telly , totally bored. Not me , i had football , swimming , cricket , table tennis , friends and mates to listen to music with , chat with and fool around with, there was always something to do , yet there was enough space and large grounds on site for you to disapear into if you wanted peace and quiet , the best off both worlds. The pictures posted above are off the Chapel and the Cloister, which leads into the chapel , by the foot of the stairs leading to Saint Anthonys. The Hall was not a school hall ,it was a central area used for pantomines and film shows and towards the end of my time their for the occassional disco , it was also a natural meeting place for the children from the four different houses within the complex , namely St Josephs , St Vincents , Our Ladies and St Anthony,s .
    Iff you want to know anymore , i have a fantastic recollection off people and occassions during my period there , i sometimes think i should write a book and call it ” The Umm Kids “

    • Lucky you, The homes were an evil place abuse and beatings I would love to know how you seem to be the only one to have had a wonderful time seems you were on holiday…

      • john steers says:

        hi Linda , thanks for your reply , i will not deny that there were some evil acts and deeds carried out but i think sometimes things need to be put into perspective. i do not for one second condone what took place and i feel genuine sadness and remorse for the victims of these acts. Remember over a period of time thousands of children must have passed through these homes and not all off them were subjected to abuse , myself included and i can only say it as i saw it. These acts of abuse were not carried out in public and only the minority of children suffered , that does not make it right i know , one child suffering is one child to many , however we didnt all suffer, that is the point i wish to make
        Discipline was important , you would need some type of discipline to control hundreds of children , many off whome where teenagers and naturally not to keen on authority , but i was never beaten or did i ever witness any beatings in my time , every child in the homes had an allocated social worker who was indipendant and worked for the local council.We had regular visits from them which were not attended by the nuns so we had full reign to raise grievances if needs be , i would suggest that some social workers failed to do their jobs properly by not spotting abuse too.
        I am not here to defend the homes and it seems i am in a minority in this but i did genuinely have a lovely childhood and was afforded many chances and opportunities that i would not have experienced liviing at homewith my parents.
        I am not trying to change your mind Linda about how you feel about the homes i would just like to point out that for many off the thousands who passed through their doors over the years some off us did actually do it with a smile

      • josie Jones nee STAIEN says:

        Hi.
        I remember lots of the kids that were in the homes. My dad worked on gardens around Father Hudsons. Dont knw if anyone remembers JOHN ?
        Feel SO sorry for the poor boys in there. I heard some tragic stories x

  16. Kloe Davies says:

    Hiya, id like to say. Im a 13 year old girl and i have been in there with my friends we now know a lot about the home, I have seen for myself the state it is in, it is discusting how people such as kids can destroy such an honerable place, i have seen graffiti on the walls, these people have trashed this place, it discusts me to see these ruins. I have heard horrible stories of the abuses of the boys, and i cannot say how bad it was or weither it was even true becuase i havent witnesed these events. But i have witnesed what is left of the home and i have heard stories they are going to knock down the home.

  17. Stefan Zukowski says:

    I lived in St Edwards Home For Boys from 1958 untill 1965. I feel sorry to see those pictures because that was my home and the other children were my family. I have some very good memories from my time there and I would like to say thanks to all of the nuns who put in there time and effort to look after us.

    • paddy mullins says:

      hi stefan,was with you in st josephs ,withsister margaret and remembered you as a top person.you had a couple of brothers with you?have just decided to web into the history of fr.hudsons and shocked to see your name.did you not join the navy and once wrote me a letter back in the 60;s when in 1970 i migrated to australia and lived here in perth.w.a.ever since.would love to get an email from you. Paddy Mullins.

      • anthony hall says:

        hi paddy i think i know you from the homes but not sure did they used to call you paddy murthy, i was in st josephs and remember sister margaret. i was there with my brothers christopher and david hall our name could have been hart but cant remember year my name is anthony, remember holidays to wales , remember coming back ur camps over, remember this ur as bold as brass, or your turn to say roserie 10 hail marys it would have been early to mid seventies i think am now 44

      • anthony hall says:

        thinking about the homes me and my brothers christopher and david would have been known by the surname wootton we were in st josephs and it could have been 73 untill about 79 we were in and out of care so dates can very a bit

      • Stefan Zukowski says:

        Hi paddy ,
        you can contact me on the following e-mail address : s.zukowski@gmx.de
        Best regards
        Stefan

  18. Adrian Pownall says:

    Hello to anyone who was at the home around 1941 – 1945. My father Cyril Pownall was there as a small child & coincidentally my wife who’s from Sussex where we live tells me her father Ron Reynolds was in care in Liverpool around the same time, although she’s not sure exactly where. Does anyone remember either of these two? I’m sure my father mentioned a Father Dominic who he said looked out for him. Any thread of information would help our family a great deal as Cyril passed away a few years ago but was not very forthcoming about his time there & said it was not something he cared to remember. Adrian

  19. fran street says:

    yes there was a renynolds at st edwards ophanage liverpool. did her dad have mousey coulor hair that seemed grey at times and a quivif. if you have a foto put it on this blogg i will diffinilty look at it and try to match it up.

    • Adrian Pownall says:

      Hi Fran, thanks for your message. Her dad always had black curly hair I’m afraid. I’ve since learned that he was there only a matter of weeks or even days, but I was more interested in whether he was there at the same time as my father Cyril Pownall who was there for some years, yet no-one seems to be around now who might remember him. Thanks again thought. Adrian

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