THE story of Dodleston’s girls’ home in last week’s Chronicle stirred memories for a brother and sister who lived at the former children’s home in Upton.
Gladys Barnes and her brother Ray Coventry lived with their sister Eileen and parents Harry and Mary on Long Lane in a property that was originally built as one of six Cottage Homes in the city.
Besides Upton and Dodleston there were two homes on Wrexham Road, one in Saughall and a possible sixth, although this is not clear.
Gladys, née Coventry, moved to the Long Lane home when she was six, in 1930.
“It had been empty for 10 years before we moved in. My father worked for the council and we moved in there when he became caretaker.
“Upstairs there were offices for the district surveyors but they never came into our part of the house.
“The rooms were very big and there were large ranges in the downstairs rooms. I also remember a very big pantry.
“It was a very happy house although very cold in the winter. I can remember ice on the inside of the windows.”
Gladys moved out of the house when she got married in 1961, although was a regular visitor there until her father died in 1970 and she looked after her mother.
She remembers her mother telling her a sad tale of a boy who had died at the house when it was a children’s home.
“He had apparently fallen from the stairs but I don’t know whether it was inside the house or outside on one of the fire escapes.”
The children’s home, with its characteristic decorative rounded gable ends was built in 1900. According to records, the matron was a Miss E M Flook and the children (who were possibly only boys) wore a uniform.