Railway Heritage

Woking Homes A Brief History

The London and South Western Railway Servants’ Orphanage started its life in Jeffreys Road Clapham, South London in 1885. The Rev Canon Allen Edwards, who was Vicar of All Saints Church Lambeth and the Railway Chaplain of Nine Elms, recognised a need and opened a home for fatherless girls, the first child being admitted in 1886. After a few years he acquired the building next door and started admitting fatherless boys. All these children had lost their fathers who had been employed by the London and South Western Railway.

As the home expanded a site in the country was sought and a brand new home was built in Woking. This home was opened in 1909 and an extension was built on in the 1930’s which at that time could house two hundred children all of whom were children of railway families.

The home was financed by “the rank and file railwaymen” who contributed one old penny per week out of their wages. The Board of Management was made up of senior railwaymen and the members from District Committees who raised money through various fund-raising activities. The name of the home was changed in 1923 to the Southern Railway Servants’ Orphanage.

In 1947 the Board of Management opened a home for retired railwaymen across the road from the main Woking Grange site. It was then called the Southern Railwaymen’s Home for Children in association with the Southern Railway Home for Old People.

Until 1989 children were cared for in Woking Grange and older people in Wynberg (which changed its name to Evershed House after the Secretary-Superintendent, Mr. Evershed). In the early 1970’s the Children’s Hospital (Grace Groom House) was refurbished to house the older people and in 1981 an extension was built to accommodate 14 retired railway workers.

In 1982 the name changed to Woking Homes. By now the organisation was accommodating not just residents and children from the Southern Region, but from all over the country.

During the 1980’s, due to the decline in numbers of the children and the increasing need to improve facilities for the older people, a Re-development Committee was formed, culminating in a rebuilding and refurbishment programme which commenced in 1987. Woking Grange was demolished in October 1988 and a new home for older people, Allen Edwards House, was built to house 20 individuals. Grace Groom House was totally refurbished and by 1990 Evershed House was closed. The remaining seven children were moved into a new building, The Foxes, in August 1988, but by August 1989 all the children had left. This building has since been run as short stay for residents’ families and rail staff who are working in the area.

Since then trustees and management have continued to maintain and improve the standards for our older residents. En-suite facilities in all the residents’ rooms were provided by 1998, and a swimming pool was added in 2000.

In 2010 Woking Homes completed the re-development of Grace Groom House which has given residents far superior rooms, with more natural light, a modernised and extended bar-lounge and conservatory and a wonderful community area.

In 2018 we are planning to upgrade and extend the dining room to enhance the dining experience of our residents.

Woking Homes continues to be a charity whose objects are the relief of those who have at any time been employed in any capacity within the rail industry and others, as determined in the absolute discretion of the Trustees from time to time, who are in need by reason of age, ill health, disability, financial hardship or other charitable need. Priority will be given to those with a rail industry connection and or their relatives.

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Residential Care

We offer residential care for people aged 65 yrs + we are also registered to care for people living with dementia.

Respite Care

We offer respite care on a short term basis. Great if you or your family want to take a break.

Guest Accommodation

En-suite facilities available on site for your family or other guests to stay

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