The children of the Homes:

a century of Erdington Cottage Homes


Erdington Cottage Homes are an example of an insitution of which there were once hundreds in England and Wales. In fact, it is not just one example it is one of the largest and longest lasting examples. These institutions bridged the gap in state child care between the workhouse and modern-day services for looked after children. And yet they are an institution we have known little about.


The children of the Homes brings new knowledge to this important topic with previously unheard stories of children living in one of the largest childcare institutions in the country. 


This book gives a voice to the many thousands of people in care in the cottage homes who felt they simply had no past: the children who were told they had no family, but later found this to be untrue; the people who were separated from their brothers, their sisters, their parents and their grand children, never to meet them again; the children who were sent overseas to children’s homes and foster parents in the New World.


Many children were not told why they were removed from their families and, as adults, their access to their own care records has been very restricted, leaving confusion, frustration and anger for many.


This book contains some rare and previously unpublished photographs of the Homes and the local area, and combines multiple and diverse memoirs with thoroughly researched background history. We follow the story from Harold in the Homes in 1911 to Darrell who was there in the 1980s, taking us on a journey with Europe’s largest local authority as residential childcare evolves from the workhouse to the community, via large institutions the cottage homes.




        The children of the Homes:          

        A century of Erdington Cottage Homes


           Author: Gudrun Limbrick BA Hons Oxon MA

           Publisher: WordWorks

           Publication date: June 2012

              Size: A4, 102 pages

           ISBN: 978-1-903210-28-4


£12.99 (+ £1.50 P&P - UK only)


If you would prefer to pay by cheque or postal order, please make them payable to WordWorks and send to: WordWorks, 43 Newman Road, Erdington, Birmingham B24 9AG.



The children of the Homes, the long-awaited book about Erdington Cottage Homes is now available.


The children of the Homes uncovers Erdington’s hidden history. While the buildings of one of the country’s biggest children’s homes are still in place, few people know about them and can only guess at the lives and experiences of the thousands of children who spent time there.


With more than 80 photographs and illustrations, The children of the Homes charts the story of the cottage homes from 1899 when the first children were moved in from the workhouse, to the late 1990s when the last child left.


Featuring previously unpublished pictures and information, this book provides a fascinating addition to the history of Birmingham, cottage homes and children in care.




Any questions, or enquiries about alternative payment options or postage costs outside the UK, please do not hesitate to get in touch



For further information about cottage homes, please visit


The first reader reviews


The book has only been out for a week but already our first reviews are coming in from people who have bought copies:



"What a lovely book (beautifully illustrated too). You have done a fantastic job and obviously worked very hard obtaining all the information within this book. I was pleasantly shocked to see my input. So nice to have and will cherish. Will be ordering another one for my foster parents too. Once again! Thank you :)"




"I received the book very promptly yesterday and report that I have now read it cover to cover.  I think you have made a very good job of your research and I hope it is widely read and appreciated.


"My husband has dipped into the book last night and it brought back memories of riding his bike on the Cottage Homes site, and of Gravelly Hill station, and Erdington in general.  He lived in The Drive (closer to the Homes than I did) and went to school by train."



"Just can't put this book down! Spent most of the day reading - should be doing the decorating. Don't let the wife catch me!"



               The Gardens / Erdington Cottage Homes