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Care and Conflict

The Story of the Jewish Orphanage at Norwood

Lawrence Cohen

Norwood, an Anglo-Jewish childcare institution founded in the late nineteenth century, was one of several hundred such institutions in the UK, but the only Jewish one. Throughout its history, Norwood had the unusual task of adapting its childcare approach to both British and Jewish concerns. This book offers a unique study of one residential child institution within the broader British context, tracing the development of the institution and changing concepts of childcare over nearly one hundred years.
The story of Norwood is told chronologically, beginning with its origins in the early nineteenth century and its growth before the First World War. The inter-war years saw a period of stagnation that paved the way for the post-war revolution in institutional childcare, the demise of the orphanage idea and, with it, the demolition of Norwood. The book provides a narrative of the rise and fall of the childcare institution as much as the story of Norwood.
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Chapter 3 The Rise of Norwood Institutionalism: The Residential Model Adopted

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CHAPTER 3

The Rise of Norwood Institutionalism: The Residential Model Adopted

The Landscape of Institutionalism – The Building and Grounds at Norwood

The institution located in West Norwood, London was in existence for ninety-six years from 1866, when it opened, until its demolition in 1962. It was unique in being the only Jewish orphanage in the country. At its peak it was the home to as many as 420 children. They were housed under one roof in one large building named the Jews’ Hospital and Orphan Asylum. The children from the Jews’ Hospital on Mile End Road in East London were moved in 1866 to the new premises and they were joined by the orphans removed from the Jews’ Orphan Asylum at the Tenter Ground in the East End in 1877. It was an amalgamation of two organizations, two sites and two groups of children. The new institution at Norwood housed 152 pupils.1 The model of childcare provision that the Anglo-Jewish community had decided to adopt for these deprived Jewish children was the large scale voluntary institution.

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